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chand_allen chand_allen

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Chandler Allen  Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. || Mainly pictures of my kids. You were warned.

http://www.vicaryphotography.com/blog/brewer-wedding

The most accurate representation of how they feel about each other at this stage. (Could be the jet lag but Shep's faces are making me laugh so hard I'm crying.) #willowruth #shepherdlaws

Well, our bags are all packed, and we start the trek home first thing tomorrow morning. Somehow it feels like we've been here forever but at the same time the trip feels like it flew by. I'm struggling with the weird tension of wanting to get home to hug Willow while also not wanting to leave and have to say goodbye to our people. I'm anticipating lots of tears tomorrow (mainly from me), and would really value prayers over our flight and traveling home. Shepherd has done an awesome job on this trip but had a really rough day today and I'm feeling a little nervous about flying with him tomorrow, so please pray peace over his little body (and peace for his afraid-of-flying momma). See you soon, America!

Only photo from today. We have jam packed everything in this week and we decided to have our last two days just be filled with quality time and not quite as much tourism. Tonight we got a sitter and went out to dinner just the four of us and as simple as it was, it will easily be one of the highlights of the trip for me. I can't believe we leave so soon but I am so thankful to have had so much time and made so many memories with our best friends!

This morning we had Kahvalti, a traditional Turkish breakfast which is like a feast. We had all kinds of breads, cheese, jams, veggies, pomegranate juice, eggs, coffee...I think they would have just kept on bringing us food if we didn't finally insist we were full. Afterward we drove to Ephesus and took a horse drawn carriage to the edge of the ruins (which was QUITE the adventure, let me tell you). Never in my life have I seen anything quite like Ephesus. To think that today we stood in the same places as the apostle Paul and walked the same streets as the Ephesian church was a humbling and surreal experience. I really think that from now on I will read Ephesians in a different light as I think of it being taught and shared in these amphitheaters.

We are spending the night tonight in a villa in Şirince, a little wine village near Ephesus. We spent most of the day exploring little shops, eating authentic Turkish food, and resting together. Tonight after dinner, we put the kids down and shared a bottle of wine on a little patio that overlooks the whole village, and in that time we laughed harder than I have in ages, and yet also had deep and thought provoking conversation. Each day that we've been here I've thought has been the best day yet and there's no way it could be topped, and then the next day somehow manages to be even better. What a good Father we have to give us friendships like these.

We spent the morning at the local pazar where Dave and Kel go every week to buy all of their fresh produce. Basically it's a giant farmer's market right down the street from their house. It was probably one of my favorite experiences of the trip so far. This afternoon Kel and I got to leave the kids with the husbands (thanks guys!) to go into the city and shop, and I got my first taste of public transportation in Turkey. This evening we met with several of their other friends from America who live here and got to eat and play games as a group. This has honestly been the trip of a lifetime and I can't believe we still have so much more to go. Shepherd has been a phenomenal world traveler and we are so thankful but we are really, really missing our girl! It's hard to have your heart in two different places of the world at the same time. (Also, Josh's hair is extra tall after that Turkish haircut 😂)

We spent the morning having breakfast with some of our other friends from Texas who live here, and then headed to Kemeralti, which is basically Izmir's Grand Bazaar. It was a bit of sensory overload, lots of sights and smells and people in your face wanting to sell you things, but we still really enjoyed seeing everything. Afterward, we went to a more modern part of the city for pizza and then came home to spend the rest of the evening relaxing. (Again, just want to say I'm posting these for my own sake as kind of a trip journal to remember everything when this is all over.) We are soaking up every moment with our people and loving the opportunity to see pieces of their lives here!

Today we went to visit the village that Dave and Kel lived in when they first moved here and had Turkish Coffee with Dave's language teacher and his family. While we were there, they told us that across the street lots of people in the village were gathered for a ceremony that takes place when two people are about to get married, and they asked us if we'd like to go see. We went over to observe but we were very quickly asked to join in the festivities. Basically this was a ceremony to celebrate the bride moving in with the groom where all their friends and family come out and help move her belongings to his home, and there's lots of dancing to celebrate. I'll share more in my stories of all the dancing if anyone is interested, but it was such a cool and uniquely Turkish event to get to participate in. Afterwards we went back to Mehmet and Zehra's house (the language teacher and his mom) for coffee and they were truly some of the kindest and most hospitable people we've ever met. It was such a joy and an honor to meet them and really amazing to get such a firsthand taste of Turkish culture.

We are having the best time on this trip. Yesterday was spent resting and relaxing while we fought off jet lag, and was a really sweet time catching up on life together. This morning we ventured into the city and took the Telefarik (gondola) to the top of a hill that overlooks Izmir, where we had tea. We then went into the city for lunch where we had döner and kebap at a cafe (so, so delicious!). This afternoon, Josh got to have the full Turkish barber experience (videos to come), while I got to meet a sweet friend of Kelley's and try Turkish coffee for the first time. Needless to say we are LOVING our time here and I will be posting daily recaps (more for my own sake to remember everything), so keep scrolling if you're not interested 😬

I've cried happy tears at least ten time in the last hour. Thank you for all your prayers, I'm not exaggerating when I say it was the easiest and best flight we have ever been on, period.

Coming for you @kelleylaws and @davelaws! (That's Shep in the sling, y'all pray for this baby on our 12 hour flight 😬) 🇺🇸➡️🇹🇷

Let's be honest, I never stood a chance. 😍#shepherdlaws

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