The Turner Update


Today, on Emu Turner Update:

It’s been a while since I have had a free moment to sit down at my laptop. I’m always glued to my phone, but I feel like I never actually make time to sit and write. I try to keep up with each one of my lovely friends and family members, but the days go by so fast.

We had a lovely summer. Jayden came from Ohio to visit us. We went to Ocean City and spent lots of time down the Shore House. When August ended Richie and I decided we would move back into Mom’s house for a while to save some money and begin the search for a house hunt. After years of renting and military housing we are ready to find “our” home. Sophia is thrilled to have her “Lala” and “Pop-pop” with her every day now though. She sure keep us all on our toes! There is a huge part of me that is super excited about finding a house and I wish we were ready to buy one NOW. The other part of me doesn’t want to rush it. It’s a huge commitment; the wandering Turners would be putting roots down after FIVE years of moving from place to place. I’m sure we will find the right place after a while.

The beautiful Sophia (“Fifi” as she calls herself) will be two in a few months and I can’t help, but feel sad. My little baby, my tiny munchie, is now a walking,talking kid. She speaks so clearly sometimes it’s hard to remember she’s not yet two. It’s true what people say “you never know until you have kids of your own.” Yup! I would never have known how much I could be amazed and in awe of one tiny human. She’s funny, she laughs all the time, she is compassionate and is always giving out “huggies.” She can destroy a clean house faster than the Tasmanian Devil. :-). But she’s amazing and We made that (Richie Turner, I think we are doing pretty good).

I’m not the perfect Pinterest mom. I’m sure that we spend too much time inside some days and that I give her too much candy on others, but hey we are having fun! She teaches me new things every day including patience and compassion. Being a parent has also taught me that I need to listen and compromise (even though my hubby knows I’m STUBBORN! love you babe!). I can’t imagine our life without this little beautiful girl. She definitely fills our hearts with joy every day!

Richie Turner is working hard as ever. During the day he works as a newspaper man by the byline of Clark Kent. No, that’s not right.  He’s a reclusive billionaire who wants capture criminals and save Gotham, mmmm still not right. He is an amazing father who works full-time during and attends college at night pursuing a degree in Education. And he’s the best and Sophia and I are blessed to have him in our lives. He also has some wonderful charity projects and is working on starting a foundation for volunteer works at The Good Among the Wicked. You can follow him and catch up with him over at Mankind is Great.

As for me, I’m just trying to figure it all out. Applying for part-time jobs, submitting freelance stuff, and keeping my toddler happy and healthy all keep me busy during business hours. Weekends and evenings I love to spend with my hubby and baby exploring the great, wide world Maryland.

Hopefully, I won’t wait another month to update, but who knows. One last thing….in case I haven’t told you all…you are loved <3. Be kind to each other. 14 years ago today we were reminded that life can change in an instant. So say a prayer for those we have lost and tell someone you love them today. And be thankful that people have given their lives for these good things we have. *Never Forget*

Aly

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The Future


When we are young we always think about the future. What will happen when we grow up? When we go to high school? When we graduate college? When we get a job? Where will our life go? How will things turn out? I always loved imagining how life would be when I was “grown up.” Now, here I am 27 years old and I STILL keep looking for the future!

I think that I struggle keeping myself in the here and now. Enjoying each beautiful day that God has blessed me with. Is this because of my anxiety? Is it because I worry too much about things that may happen? Yes. A lot of it is. Often I wake up in the morning and think, “Oh what do we have to do today?” I run a list of things that I need to finish and things that are happening next week and next month. I’m always saying, “I can’t wait for….”. The problem with this is that I”m missing the things that are happening right this second.

Sophia is napping here beside me. I was writing a list of phone calls I needed to make and thinking of when I should get a job and when Sophia turns 2 (hint: it’s not for 5 more months). I just need to STOP! Why not enjoy this quiet time? Use it it to write a little bit, reflect on things that are going on right now, instead of focusing my eyes on the future. I am a thinker and a dreamer. It’s in my blood. Often this causes me to wile away the hours daydreaming or planning or imagining. Instead of really just being in the moment. That’s my goal for today. Just enjoy the day. Maybe go to the pool or take Sophia and Shisha for a walk. Then, in a few hours I’ll make dinner and spend the evening with my family. I won’t focus on tomorrow’s agenda or what needs to be done before we move next month. I’ll just worry about it when it happens.

Here’s my challenge to you: Enjoy TODAY! Take a moment and do something that is just for you, just for now. Go for a walk, read a book, sit down and eat your lunch without filling in your To-Do list. I’m going to try!

The Real World


Hey everyone,

Look at me two posts in a week! I’ve been looking online at different jobs. I’m hoping to get into something flexible/part-time so that I don’t have to put Sophia into daycare. I love our days together, I’m already sad thinking about her going to school.

I find job hunting really scary. Reading requirements for jobs and thinking about starting at a new job is overwhelming. Even though I spent two years writing for a magazine and doing advertisements it still seems like a lifetime ago. The past year and a half with Sophia has been amazing, but it is so different from working at a nine to five job. It’s challenging and frustrating and wonderful all at the same time. I’m just not sure how to put myself back into “the real world.” I’m guessing I’ll need to start out slowly.

I’m also currently in the middle of my memoir. I love writing about our life and journey to Japan. I can’t wait to have a finished draft. It’s a life long dream of mine to write a full length book.  That’s also my goal for 2015 is to finish the first draft.

I promised that I would share part of my book so I am including the opening chapter here. If you would like to share this chapter or any chapters please ask permission first.

©.2011-2015. Embracing Life. lifepassionlove.wordpress.com. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. All work on this blog is original writing by me and not to be reproduced, copied or distributed.

Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

           “Get in the water. Get IN. Come on.”

“I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just watch. Hmm, I’m not sure.”

“Just get in here. It’s easy. Everyone else has tried it.”

I laughed at the exchange between my brother, Michael’s girlfriend, Renee and my great-aunt, Angie. Renee stood in the waist deep water holding the 10 foot paddle board while she cajoled and pleaded with my aunt to get in and try the board. After three years of living overseas in Okinawa, Japan it was refreshing and comforting to be back with the comforts of my childhood; the creek, The Shore House, my family. Everything felt so perfect, it made me wonder why I had never appreciated it before. I had been so eager to grow up and leave my home town behind that I never realized how blessed I really was. I knew everyone or so it seemed. I guess that’s what happens when you live on a peninsula. One road in or out. Unless you went by boat you had to meet up with the same people; the same gas station attendants, the same grocery clerks, the same preachers.  The town I grew up in, Pasadena, (Maryland not California) had a population of about 25,000. It may seem like a large number of people to be acquainted with, but I really felt like knew everyone in town. There were only two high schools in town and plenty of people to be friends with. Even though I attended a private high school in another town I still knew so many people from my neighborhood and through other friends. I had my immediate and extended family all around me and we never wanted for company because we always had each other.

“Why don’t you let Aly try? She’s never been on there.”

“I’m getting in the kayak now. Go on in,” I said.

“Mmm, I don’t know,” she hemmed and hawed at the idea, “I don’t think I could stay on there.”

I slowly paddled the kayak up the creek and against the current putting the house behind me. The sun beat down on me and reflected off the water making the day seem that much hotter. It wasn’t unlike the humid temperatures we had grown used to in Okinawa. The scenery was quite different though. Living on a subtropical island just wasn’t the same as growing up on the Bay. From the time I was born, I had been fortunate enough to be able to experience summers on the water. My great-great grandparents bought a summer house in 1908 on the Bodkin just off the Chesapeake Bay in Pasadena, Maryland. They spent their winters in a house up the beltway on the northern outskirts of Baltimore City, but every weekend in the summer they were at The Shore house. The property is now co-owned by my great grandmother and her remaining living brothers. The house sits on a corner lot that in today’s market would cost several million dollars to purchase. If we had the money, my grandparents would buy out everyone else’s share. Just so we could keep the house in our family and never have to worry about someone wanting to sell it. It has charm and it is definitely old, but I loved going there when I was a child. It never occurred to me that other people didn’t have the luxury of a waterfront view and a readymade vacation home. We spent our days riding jet skis into the mouth of the Bodkin and taking boat rides out on the Bay.

When my grandfather would drive the boat, he would give us a history lesson; pointing out all of the landmarks and historical points on the water.

“There’s Bethlehem,” he would say waving his hand in the direction of the smoke stacks. It used to be so much busier and more alive. Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard was known to local residents as Bethlehem Steel for the steel plant that you could see the smoke stacks from the Bay. I always thought it looked intimidating and never wanted to go near there. These days the steel plant sits empty and cold because it couldn’t survive the tough economic times. I hear they are demolishing the place piece by piece. Just past that you can see the Key Bridge named after Francis Scott Key, the man who penned the Star Spangled Banner. The raising of the American flag at Fort McHenry in Baltimore was said to have inspired the beloved anthem. That little piece of trivia is one that Marylanders are proud of.

As I grew older and became busier I spent less time at the Shore and on the water even though it was only a few miles from my mother’s house. When I left for Okinawa I never thought about how much I would miss this place and the people that came along with it. I figured a subtropical island country would satisfy my need to be on the water and my desire to see something besides my town. It wasn’t the same. The sounds and smells were different. Instead of flowing creeks, chirping crickets, and muggy summer nights you had crashing waves and overly salty air. It was pretty, but it was never home. There were so many days and nights that I fought homesickness and the urge to just jump on a plane and go back. Back to my family, back to my hometown. Even in my darkest days of anxiety when I thought I would lose my mind, I stayed in Japan to be close to my husband because I knew that I would miss him just as much if I left. But still always there was a part of me that longed to be where I grew up.

“Ang, just get on the board. I’ll hold it up here and Michael can hold the other end,” Renee told her, “Pull up onto the board on your belly. Then, get up on your knees.”

“I’m tryin’, I’m trying. Ahgh.”

Splash.

The sound of laughter echoed across the creek as Angie tumbled into the water. I craned my neck to see her, but the kayak had floated down the creek and I had lost sight of the house. As I paddled farther ahead, I looked into the tree line where the trail leading to Downs Park. The park is located on the Chesapeake Bay in Anne Arundel County. It is situated at the end of a peninsula just before a gated community called Gibson Island. The park is named for former County Councilman, John (Jack) H. Downs. The park was named in his honor for his years of service in Anne Arundel County. We never cared about the park’s name or history. It was just a fun place to hang out when we were kids. To run and scream and chase one another throughout the trails and picnic spots.

The park has so many winding trails throughout the woods and along the water line. It’s great for riding bikes or running through the woods. There are children’s playgrounds and an outdoor performance theater where Sunday concerts are held during the summer months. Local residents and tourists can learn more about the indigenous wildlife by visiting the information center located at the park. When my cousins and I were kids we sat through two Saturdays of classes to receive our personal boating license right at the park. These days children can attend summer camps and families can picnic and cook out at one of the many pavilions with charcoal grills. It is the perfect place for families to go and it was the perfect place to be a kid. I had craved this familiarity when I was gone. Even though I didn’t know I would miss it at all.

“There ya go, there ya go. Just stand up from your knees,” Michael’s voice echoed down the creek.

“I don’t have my balance. I think I’m going to fall,” Angie replied.

Splash.

The town where I grew up and the areas surrounding it are rich with history and culture. It wasn’t just a place for me to learn about it. It was the place where I grew up. It was the town I learned to be an adult in. I learned so much about myself and I grew into a woman. I was so eager to get out that I never stopped to think about all that I was leaving behind. I can hear my brother pulling the paddleboard out of the water. My aunt must have given up for the day. Maybe she’ll try again tomorrow. I reflect once more on how glad I am to finally be back where I belong.

Three years had passed in the blink of an eye. There were amazing memories, there were okay times, and there were some downright frightening moments that were all behind me now. Being back here made Japan feel like nothing, but a distant memory or a dream, even. I turn the kayak around and let the current take me home.

xo Aly

Always Find You


Just close your eyes
And pretend that I am next to you.
Though this distance between us seems endless
The love I feel
Will always bring you home to me.

My days all feel like night
And I pretend that you are next to me.
I cannot see your face
Whenever you are gone
I feel so lost.

I am so lost
Until I hear your voice
And I know that I am safe.
The love you feel
Will always bring me back to you.

*this is all for you bug, everything I have, everything I am. I miss you*