Tuesday, December 29, 2009


December 29th ... closing in on the end of 2009 - the start of 2010. I am working on resolutions - or goals for 2010. I am not even sure where to begin.
Part of me is thinking why make goals if ultimately I am not even in control, why not just go with whatever is thrown my way and let it be.
The other part reminds me that I must be intentional, with my time, focus and actions.

today my God Calling devotion helped set me on the right path:
Work and Prayer
Work and prayer represent the two forces that will ensure success. Your work and My Work. For prayer, believing prayer, is based on the certainly that I am working for you and with you and in you. Go forward gladly and unafraid. I am with you. With men your task may be impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Lord, I ask that you set me on the path that you desire for me. I pray for wisdom, knowledge and understanding of your will for me. Open my eyes to recognize all you desire for me in 2010 and beyond. Thank you Father that you are with me - always. Thank your for the work that you do in me and the work you provide for me to accomplish. Lord you are so good - thank you that with you all things are possible! AMEN.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Ahhh Christmas!

I love celebrating Christmas, the birth of Jesus.
What I am not exactly fond of is the "other" stuff that comes along with it.
Great example ... yesterday at church,
one of our congregants said"Hey First Lady(that is what they affectionally call me), was Santa good to you this year?"
my reply, "Santa, we celebrated the birth of Jesus!"
He smiled and said, "That's what I am talking about - Jesus "

Aaron and I enjoyed full days of Family ... we are so blessed that both of our families are in the Indianapolis area ... our parents still live in the homes we grew up in - about 15/20 min from each other. Both of our Moms have large Christmas Eve spreads ... Aaron and I ate very well.

The 24th began with me picking up my forever friend, in town from Minneapolis for the holiday - and getting some breakfast. I was on a tight schedule, Aaron and I needed to be at Church for the noon service! We had a great visit ...
Aaron and I attened the noon service, I am still in shock that Northview had a LIVE nativity in the foyer ...

This was amazing, the boxes ... presents from Northview families for Jesus. Check out www.nvcl.org to learn more about the Christmas series.

After the service, we headed to the Shelby's ... we had a great time with Aaron's family - and was the food good ... mmmmm!
The Jeremy Bear made his second appearance and we got a shot of the Shelby Cousins,
Bryson (6) and Breaden (21mo) Shelby, Darrin (13) and Dean (6mo)Kirkland

With Shelby Grand parents ... Nana and GrandDaddy ....
We then headed over to my parents .... Jameson (15mo) found the JerBear and gave him a big hug ... how does he know! :) Jack helped keep an eye on him.
the Diehl Cousins ... this was a challenge, to get everyone still and stop touching each other ...
in Front Jack,holding the bear (10), On the couch: Hannah(3.5), Jameson (15mo) Lucy (3.5) Sam (9), in the back: Kate (5) and Will (7).

I truly appreciate both families taking a special picture for me with the bear ...

On Christmas day, Aaron and I woke up just in time to head over to my sisters to enjoy breakfast .... she makes a wonderful egg casserole and coffee cake - so good! They were headed out of town - but not with out Will telling Aaron and I not to even think about coming over and playing Wii while they were gone ... hum to bad they are home already ... :)
After breakfast Aaron and I returned home to get ready to head down to his Aunts ... to eat again. This is the time of the year that all the relatives come out. After 4 years, I am starting to get all the names down. Aaron's mom has 4 sisters ... all with kids - that now have kids - it is a full house.
His Aunt lives around the corner from my parents ... so around 4 we headed over there. My mom had the Turkey in ... with all the fixins - was I hungry .... I ate.

Aaron and I had such a blessed Christmas - time to be together with our families ... it is our prayer that 2010 we will have a baby to add to the family celebrations! Aaron and I are in agreement that this could have been our final Christmas with just the two of us.

Next on the docket ... planning a Birthday Celebration for Jeremy ...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Glowing Memories

Last night Aaron and I attended the Glowing Memories service at Northview. This is an annual service to remember and honor friends and family that have passed. The evening was very special, there was special music, a short message, an opportunity to write the names of those being honored and remembered to place on a wreath, and rows and rows of votives to be lit by each person attending in honor of their loved one.

For me, it was a visual reminder that I am not the only one that has experienced loss. AS the candles were lit, Aaron leaned over and said "it is hard to imagine that each person is here for a different reason." Each person in attendance has a story, and their story includes loss. There was a feeling of community in the sanctuary - a very special type.
I lit 4 candles to honor and remember: Jeremy, Grandma and Grandpa Diehl and Carol Hittle( my sisters mother in law).
It was an amazing site when I returned to my seat and saw all the candles glowing and flickering together. There was a feeling of knowing, recognizing, validating each others loss.

Members of our life group also attended to honor Jeremy - completely overwhelming, and again a visual reminder that i do not own my loss, it is shared. It is a shared loss with this close group of friends, our family and others.
Which also reminds me that when I feel alone and isolated - I am NOT!

Heavenly Father, I thank you for community! Thank you for creating us to desire companionship. Thank you Lord, for reminding us to remember and honor your righteous children.
...a righteous man will be remembered forever Psalm 112:6b


Monday, December 21, 2009

Have your way then ....

from God Calling:
Children, take every moment as of My Planning and ordering. Remember your Master is the Lord of the day's little happenings. In all the small things yield to My gentle pressure on your arm. Stay or go, as that pressure, Love's pressure, indicates.
The Lord of the moments. Creator of the snowdrop and the mighty oak. More tender with the snowdrop than the oak.
And when things do not fall out according to your plan, then smile at ME indulgently, a smile of Love, and say, as you would to a human loved one, "Have Your Way then" - knowing that My loving response will be to make that way as easy for your feet as it can be.

Wonderful .... love it.


Friday, December 18, 2009

2009 Christmas Card

I tried to post this yesterday ... anyway.
Aaron and I in the Ancient city of Ephesus, Turkey October 25th
Jeremiah Parker Shelby January 4th, 2009


Thursday, December 17, 2009

2009 in Retrospect

We sent out Christmas pictures this year, and I had every intention of writing a note to go along with the picture ... but there was just too much for one note.
I did create a timeline of the year, before I decided that it was too much for one letter ... here is a glimpse of our 2009 Retrospective:
Jeremy arrived on his due date, 1.4.09
Brookside Community Church 21 days of prayer and fasting, Aaron took some time off and new leaders stepped up. I took time off from school.
Brookside Community Church continues to grow, begin meeting with ministry coordinators ... 11 different areas are identified.
Begin planning for KidsGames. Spring Break, with the "diehl" family. North Captiva, Florida.
Resign from Coaching, I take on new roles in Brookside Community Church: organizing first ever women's retreat.
Continued organization of Leadership at Brookside Community Church. First ever Women's All-Day retreat, Beth Moore Loving Well.
Resign teaching position at North Central. KidsGames .... nephew Dean Alexander Kirkland arrives!
Forever Friend Suzi visits Indy :)
Brookside Community Church, Back Pack Attack. vacation: Wawasee.
Aaron accepts position as Co-Chair for the Legacy Project for the 2012 SuperBowl. Church wide spiritual growth campaign RESET
my birthday month. Mediterranean Cruise - 7 days sailing the seas and seeing the sites!
aarons birthday month. I take on the the "interim" Youth Ministry Coordinator roll. Enjoy an eventful Thanksgiving in the Hittle Home
???? we are still here - this one has to wait.

What a year, talk about how no eye has seen nor ear heard what God has planned .... The Lord was so good to Aaron and I. We are truly blessed!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Picture with Santa

Every year Nana (my mother) has all her grandkids go to Keystone at the Crossing to get a picture with Santa. Her oldest grandkid will be 11 in February ... She has all the pictures displayed in her house, it is fun to see how the group has grown from 1 to 7 ... well 8 when you include the "JerBear". (Ages range 10 years to 15 months)
The little black bear is in the picture to represent Jeremy. The bear is special because in his left arm there is a recording of Jeremy's heartbeat. It was a special shower gift from a dear life group couple ... and now we will continue to have JerBear in all our important family pictures. In this picture, Lucy (one of the twins) is holding on to JerBear for extreme comfort, I am not surprised he comforts me too!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Exceedingly Abundantly!

Tomorrow will be my 4th and final Beads By Beth open house (it will be at my home, email me for directions : bethshelby@gmail.com) to have orders completed by Christmas ... the first 3 have blown me away!
I have been so blessed by gracious hosts, wonderful guests and many new customers. This is about to take off .... and I am so excited to be creating, again. The parties have been set up with a display and sampling of my work. Then I talk with each guest (if they are interested) and we design their piece. I love talking through the creative process. So many ideas that can not all come just from my head. That is the aspect of teaching that I do miss - working through problems. Creating solutions that had not been imagined before.
I am looking forward to continued momentum for 2010 - I have dear friends that have ideas that will help me expand ... and they not only have ideas - they offered to help:)

so i loved the devotion from joel ....

Exceedingly Abundantly


"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever"
(Ephesians 3:20-21, NKJ)

TODAY'S WORD from Joel and Victoria

God wants to do exceedingly abundantly above all you can ever ask, think, or imagine. In another place, it says that no person has ever seen, heard, or even imagined the wonderful things that God has in store for those who love the Lord. But notice that it's according to the power working in us. God's power works in us by our faith or how we believe. Do you believe today that God wants to work in your life exceedingly abundantly above all you could ask or think? Do you believe He wants to overwhelm you with His goodness and blessing?

The Bible says that if we have faith the size of a tiny mustard seed, we can move mountains. And no matter how much faith we have, faith can grow in us by hearing, studying, and receiving the Word of God.

I encourage you today, make God's Word a priority. Believe that He will do exceedingly abundantly above all you can ask or think. He is faithful to His Word, and He will be faithful to fulfill every promise He's made to you!


"Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness in my life. Thank You for blessing me and for doing exceedingly abundantly above all I can ask or think. Thank You for increasing my faith as I focus on Your Word. In Jesus' Name. Amen."

The Lord continues DAILY to go beyond all I have imagined ... NO eye has seen, nor ear heard ... PRAISE THE LORD!!!!

... tonight heading downtown to hear Rob Bell:) GLORY....


Thursday, December 3, 2009


Again so timely .... From God Calling
Fret not your souls with puzzles that you cannot solve. The solution may never be shown you until you have left this flesh-life. Remember what I have so often told you , "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." Only step by step, and stage by stage, can you proceed, in your journey upward. The one thing to be sure of is that it is a journey with ME. There does come a Joy known to those how suffer with ME. But that is not the result of the suffering, but the result of the close intimacy with ME, to which suffering drove you.

How often I find myself trying to solve - find the answers ... when what I am called to do is draw near to HIM. I need to continue to develop intimacy with HIM. Oh how I draw HIM near ... he is always there. Revealing what I need in the right time. gives me chills.

Last night was the first custom bead party ... AWESOME! It was thrilling. One of the coolest things was when a dear friend that I have not seen in many months said " Beth, you look like YOU" that was amazing, I was in my groove talking about creative ideas for jewelry and helping make decisions ... it was intoxicating.

When I finish this entry, I am hitting the beads. I am looking forward to creating the items ordered last night. The next event is Monday 12/7th followed by a 3rd on Wednesday 12/9 .... on a ROLL! The creative juices are flowing - PRAISE THE LORD!

Continue to draw near to HIM .... this is a journey - perfectly planned and ordered.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rob Bell - Drops Like Stars Tour

Rob Bell (from Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, MI) will be in Indy December 11th for the Drops Likes Stars tour ...

We plot, we plan, we assume things are going to go A certain way and then they don’t and we find ourselves
In a new place, a place we haven’t been before, a place
We never would have imagined on our own,

And so it was difficult and unexpected and maybe even
Tragic and yet it opened us up and freed us to see
Things in a whole new way

Suffering does that—
It hurts,
But it also creates.

How many of the most significant moments in your
Life came not because it all went right, but because
It all fell apart?

It’s strange how there can be art in the agony…

The Drops Like Stars tour is a two
Hour exploration of the endlessly complex
Relationship between suffering and creativity—
And I’d love to see you there.

Doors 7pm
Event 8pm



Just real.

So for the past few days I have been in the dumps. Feeling blah. My mind is focused on Jeremy. I keep thinking about the holiday season and nearing his birthday - I am missing him terrible. I am consumed with thoughts of memories that we do not have. I find myself in the middle of anything crying. It really stinks. While, I am pretty sure this is part of the grieving process, it is a part I am not too fond of.

in my journal I wrote today:
Lord, be with me. Your Spirit makes me strong. Lord in your strength this time will glorify you. My mind is feeling weak, my heart is aching for Jeremy. Thank you Lord that you are close, that you know my sadness. Praise you Lord that I can lean on you - trusting and stepping in faith, following your Love, Grace and Mercy.

Then I read todays God Calling, this is a portion:
I am beside you.
A very human Jesus, who understands all your weaknesses, and sees too your struggles and conquests.
So fainting and need, by the lakeside of life, know that I will supply your need, not grudgingly, but in full measure.

The Lord is so quick to answer - and I am always surprised.
Lord, I love you and praise you for your support in my utter and complete weakness. Thank you that I can lean on you and your strength sustains me.

BUT IT DOES NOT STOP THERE ... I went on the read Psalm 31 ... the parts that spoke to me this morning:
1 In you O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame: deliver me in your righteousness.
4 Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me. O Lord, the God of truth.
7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.
9 Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.
14 But I trust in you O LORD; I say "YOU ARE MY GOD"
15My times are in your hands.
21 Praise be to the Lord, for he showed his wonderful love to me.
23 Love the Lord, all his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full.
24 Be strong and take heart, ALL you who hope in the Lord.

I am so filled by the Spirit - and I was then reminded of one of the 5.6 class memory verses ... John 16:24 Until now your have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

I need to allow my grief to get out of me - I have continued to suppress my emotions and feelings. Moving along like all is well, things are fine when actually that is not the case at all -- these feelings and emotions needed to get out! And wow, the peace that fills me now - thank you Jesus!
There are some hard days ahead, I simply Pray for the Lord to continue to carry me.


Monday, November 23, 2009

he makes ALL things new

So in my last post, I wrote this has been a hard year ...
Saturday night our life group met to have our Celebration at the conclusion of the RESET spiritual growth campaign. Everyone was supposed to create "something" that described them. The creation could be ANYTHING: you could bring something, make something, do an interpretive dance .... it was limitless. Aaron and I happened to be in Greece when the group received the assignment, so ours was on the fly. BUT we were so impressed by our Life Group - after 4 years you think you know people - right??? Well no, the evening was full of insight and we continue to get to know each other better and better.

While there were no interpretive dances, one completely blew me away!
Tish is an artist, her occupation (in addition to being an awesome mommy) she does creative design - for her project she elected to create a painting. Something that has been on her heart for sometime. Her inspiration ... Jeremy. Our little Angel Man, my sweet son. That was enough for me to lose it Saturday.
She created a beautiful butterfly, to represent how God can use anything - regardless of how ugly a situation is he can use it .... here is her painting:
It is beautiful. At the conclusion of her presentation she gave the painting to Aaron and I. WHAT! We are thinking it will go in our bedroom, the walls are a deep purple, the wings stand out in a luminescent manner - it is the constant reminder that God Makes ALL things new. A wonderful image to see when going to bed and getting up ... how do you thank someone for such a insightful and powerful gift. ( I am still working on it)

It is hard to explain, but it is so meaningful when friends and family continue to honor Jeremy. I did not know that would mean so much to me, but I love talking about him. It is such a blessing for me, when asked about Jeremy. It is an honor to remember him:)


Friday, November 20, 2009

My Desire ...

My devotion from God Calling this morning describes the Desire of my heart ....

Not only must you rejoice, but your JOY must be made manifest. "Known unto all men." A candle must not be set under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that it may give light to all who are in the house. Men must see and know your JOY, and seeing it, know, without any doubt, that it springs from trust in Me, from living with Me.
The hard dull way of resignation is not My Way. When I entered Jerusalem, knowing well that scorn and reviling and death awaited Me, it was with cries of Hosanna, and with a triumphal procession. Not just a few "Lost Cause"followers creeping with Me into the city. THere was no note of sadness in My Last Supper Talk with My disciples, and "when we had sung an hymn" we went out unto the Mount of Olives. So trust, so conquer, so joy. Love colors the way. Love takes the sting out of the wind of adversity. LOVE .LOVE. LOVE of Me. The consciousness of MY Presence, and that of My Father, we are ONE, and HE - God - is LOVE.

I desire to radiate the JOY of the Lord ... this year has been tough.
It is my prayer that I manifest His Joy ... entering into the Holiday Season, Thanksgiving, Christmas - I pray that the glory of the Lord will shine through me and I am able to radiate HIS joy. I pray that each of you will also radiate his JOY too ... imagine the Love that we can spread with the conscious effort to manifest Joy.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

On a Limb

I am taking my business to the next level .....

Custom Beads by Beth Parties!
Gather your friends, check out my work and order custom pieces.
Simple steps to follow:
Book a party (bethshelby@gmail.com)
Invite some friends over
check out my work
fill out the custom order form
For each order placed, I request a $10 deposit with full payment on delivery.
Orders will be completed in 5-10 days.

At the suggestion of a dear friend
... I will also be creating Gift Certificates.
Details to follow ...
To book a party, send me an email bethshelby@gmail.com
check out my work: beadsbybeth.blogspot.com


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

For His Glory

This weekend I served on the Discipleship Walk, as a member of the team. I attended the Walk two years ago, January. That weekend was an amazing opportunity of renewal. Serving on the team had the same renewing properties.
Check around your area if you have not been on a Walk ... I encourage EVERYONE to do it!

This weekend was exhausting, It was a wonderful example of how the Body of Christ is alive, kicking and holding each other up. When I say exhausting, we are not running a boot camp - the exhaustion comes from being mentally and emotionally drained. But with the draining - you are open to a complete refill by the Spirit - What a spiritual high!

My reading this morning helped to describe the Glory that was felt this weekend.
From God Calling:
"Arise shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." Isaiah 60:1
The glory of the Lord is the Beauty of His Character. It is risen upon you when you realize it, even though on earth you can do so only in part. The Beauty of the Purity and Love of God is too dazzling for mortals to see in full. The Glory of the Lord is also risen upon you when you reflect that Glory in your lives, when in Love, Patience, Service, purity, whatever it may be, you reveal to the world a something of the Father, an assurance that you have been with Me, your Lord and Savior.

As I reflect on the weekend experience - there is such joy, and when I talk to Aaron about it - sometimes I cannot even remember things. The Spirit of the Lord was around and he used each of his daughters to spread his love - Disciples and Team. What an amazing community.

The women at my table, yes we have small groups that discuss various topics, these are such special women. We all opened our hearts to touch each others lives. It was all for HIS GLORY!
And WOW did it shine this weekend. I pray all the ladies continue to bask in His Glory and share it with all they encounter.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Joel ... it has been a while!

This was yesterdays devotion from Joel ... so good! This is a busy week, I head out Thursday for a Women's Retreat, that I am SO looking forward to. It has been such a blessing to be on the planning side. I am so excited for the ladies that will be attending. At the same time I have a number of items on my to-do list before heading out of town and contact for 4 days. Therefore, I am greatly encouraged by Joel's word ....

You Are Closer Than You Think

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE "So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit"(Galatians 6:9, the Message)

TODAY'S WORD from Joel and Victoria God has put dreams and desires in every person's heart. We all have goals we want to accomplish and situations we are believing will be turned around. Sometimes it seems to take longer than we thought. Sometimes things don't work out the way we planned, and it's easy to lose enthusiasm. Negative thoughts come to us that say, "It's never going to change." "You're never going to get well." "You're never going to get out of debt." If we're not careful, we'll get discouraged and end up just settling where we are. Many times, people miss out on God's best simply because they give up too soon. They don't realize how close they are to their victory.

Friend, don't let that be you today! Don't give up just because things seem hard. You are closer than you think! You've invested so much and you never know, just another few more days of believing, another few weeks of doing the right thing, another few months of staying in faith, and you could see that situation turn around. Remember, God is on your side! Keep standing and keep believing because you are closer than you think to fulfilling every desire He's placed inside of you!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY"Father God, today I come to You again, believing that You are working behind the scenes on my behalf. Give me Your strength to keep moving forward into the place of victory You have for me. In Jesus' Name. Amen."


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Istanbul, October 29th -30th

This morning was different, yes our breakfast came ... but we were not moving slowly into a port. Actually we had about 4 more hours until we reached the Istanbul port.

It was cooler on the balcony, it could have been the speed we were moving - but it felt about 5 degrees lower then the rest of the trip. This is what we saw while eating breakfast ...

this is behind us.
We had left the Mediterranean (Aegean) Sea, passed through a narrow channel and we are now in the Sea of Marmara (meaning Marble) ... This body of water connects to the Black Sea on the OTHER side of Istanbul.
So we enjoyed breakfast and began packing our bags. They would need to be packed and outside our rooms by Midnight. We would be heading home the next morning.
Around 11, we headed up to the deck to check out the lunch options and the view ... we were getting closer to Istanbul.
the shore line looked quite different then the previous ports ... these shot were taken through the window at our table during lunch:
the 6 minarets(the spikes), indicate that is the Blue Mosque:
the 4 here, Aya Sofya ...

Topkapi Palace...
the other side, actually Asia ...
This is the bridge that connects Europe and Asia
Sorry for the rail in the image
On our way to the dock
Once we docked, our group met in to prepare for our city tour, again we would be loading on to busses and show around. I was not exactly sure where we were headed, but that was typical. We then learned that October 29th is Turkish Independence Day, like the 4th of July. This was a big time day of celebration. That accounted for the number of flags we saw on the ride in, but that also meant the Grand Bazaar was closed. Aaron would not be getting a Genuine Fake Watch. But our tour would now include the Blue Mosque.
It was a drastic difference getting on the bus in this thriving metropolis compared to the other ports.
The water used to come right up to this wall ...
From the bus, the blue mosque
From the bus, AyaSofya
AyaSofya, was initially built by Justinian as a christian church. Then it was converted into a mosque as the rulers changed - now it is a museum.

Aaron is standing next to one of the columns of Marble - HUGE
When Aya Sofya was built it was a church .... there are christian images and mosaics all over. When it became a mosque, instead of tearing out and destroying the images - they covered them with thick plaster. In essence preserving them!
the alter in the front ... the center window would be center, notice the alter to the right, facing EAST. When it was transformed to a mosque, the people had to pray facing east ....
Self portrait, by the alter ...
aaron trying to surprise me ...

walking over to the Blue Mosque
courtyard of Blue Mosque
to enter the Mosque, we had to take off our shoes, and we thought Aaron might have to wear a skirt wrapped around his shorts ....
He was cleared, his shorts were long enough ....
the carpet was so soft ...

inside the Blue Mosque ....
The inside - it was a prayer time ....
columns ...

shoes back on ...
but should he have sat here ... if you can read on the steps it says "Do Not Sit Here"
After the Blue Mosque our bus took us to a small shopping area, but again because of the holiday most were closed. So we headed back to the ship, ordered room service (coffee and hot chocolate - awsome mixed!) and got prepared for dinner.

For the final night, RTV6 planned for us to go out on the town for dinner. We ate at Zeyrekhane (i have no idea how to pronounce it!) "Turkish Cuisine at the heart of Istanbul"
We did not just dine, RTV6 rented the entire place, it was ours to hang on the terrace over looking water and the city - wonderful views ....
a mosque lit up ...
on the terrace, sipping "fig juice" it was not the best ..... must be an acquired taste?
The beacon lights are close to our ship ...
inside the restaurant:

at our table :
Aaron made a special friend:

special music
special dancer, from what we could understand, this belly dancer was one of the top in Turkey!
Dinner, Authentic Cuisine ... this was beef wrapped in a pastry, like Beef Wellington .... and a large sprig of lettuce

main dish .... my dad's comment: i looks like someone already ate it.
But it sure did taste good!
dessert ... Sultans Fingers .... not so good (to me)

chocolate cookies, i was too full for even a taste, but Aaron liked them

Hot tea, with an apple flavor, i did like this!
the tea came with small spoons .... Aaron was up for the challenge

Karen and Paul, Mr McDonalds!

Jacki and I ....
Then it was back to the ship, our bags needed to be packed and ready for pick up in 1 hour!
We did not order room service for our final morning, instead we got all packed up, vacated our room and headed to the breakfast buffet ...
When it was time our "color" was dismissed from the ship. WE relocated our bags in the terminal and loaded up busses for the airport to head home ....
Drive to the airport ....
our ship across the "Golden Horn"
Fishing boats in the Sea of Marmara
It took about 45 min to get to the airport, then another hour to get through security and checked in ... then a second round of security at the gate - Turkey does not play!
We had a 3 hour flight to Munich, we raced through customs, another security check and right on to the next plane. For our 9 hour flight to Chicago ... granted we were gaining 6 hours on the flight it was still a long day!

We arrived in Chicago with no issues, glided through customs, found our bags, dropped our bags off and learned our 9:45 flight was delayed .... 2 hours!
We made our way to the gate and found Mr McDonalds was treating RTV6 to McDonalds:) I enjoyed a happy meal, Aaron ... had something. My mind is foggy.

It was nice to be "home - almost.

The flight from Chicago arrived in Indy at 2, my dad picked us up and we where in our bed by 3:15am .... 9 am in Greece! We slept about 5 hours, then began moving getting ready for Aaron's Dads Retirement Party .... 43 years with GM.

What a trip, this was simply amazing.
Aaron and I had not even IMAGINED that the Lord would have planned something like this for us. Even now, after being home two weeks, I cannot believe it.
The Lord is good, and he is true to his promises. PRAISE THE LORD!