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  • Writer's pictureAudrey Ann Masur

Interview with Ann Overturf, Navy Wife & Mom of 8 (Part 1)

Q: Hello, Ann! Tell us a little about who you are, what your perfect day would look like, and the major moves you've made.

A: Hi, I’m Ann Overturf! Tim & I have been married 44 years. A Navy chaplain for 30 years, Tim retired three years ago. After 22 moves, we are finally settling in and putting down serious roots! With eight children, four children-in-law, and eight grandchildren, I love that our family continues to grow.

The perfect day for me would begin by walking on the beach, a cup of hot coffee in hand, and it would continue at home enjoying a good book and dinner out.

During our first Navy tour, Tim was told we would remain on the East Coast for the duration of his career because our family of five was too large to move further. However, we have discovered God does what He wants, and we had the privilege of living on both coasts, in the Midwest, and overseas even as our family grew. We have lived various places in the Detroit area (college, seminary), Dallas,TX (continuing seminary); Chesapeake, VA; Jacksonville, FL; Okinawa, Japan; Chicago; Guam; San Diego; Bremerton, WA; coastal North Carolina, back to Guam, NC again, and now a suburb of Atlanta.

Q: Wow! That's amazing. So tell me, is the word “home” complicated for you--what does it mean to you?

A: Home is a lovely word! It’s that safe place where, when walking through the front door, you’re enveloped in love, acceptance, comfort, peace, joy, and fun.

Q: What are some practical ways you keep traditions alive and help you and your family stay connected to their roots?

A: As our children were growing up, we worked hard to create strong bonds between them. These days with kids living coast to coast, we have a family text thread which is a great place to stay in touch, share pictures, info, accomplishments, prayer needs, current events, and just have fun together. Sometimes I’ll throw out a random challenge or question, and the first one to answer correctly gets a $5 Starbucks gift card. It’s amazing how that simple gift card, or more likely the competitive nature of our kids, creates a flurry of responses!

As we moved around, it was often the little things that became traditions. Like the year we moved to Guam right before Christmas. We found ourselves in a hotel-type setting with a very small kitchen. It lacked what was needed to make a full Christmas dinner. I happened to stumble across a recipe I had tossed in my purse before we moved, something a friend had prepared for us during that busy time. It had been a hit with all of us, so that became our Christmas dinner. Because it called for red and green bell peppers, it looked Christmasy and turned what at first seemed like a major disappointment into a fun memory. The following year I was shocked when our kids requested the same dish over ham or turkey for Christmas dinner, and the year after, and for many years to come. It became a tradition!

As the Navy moved us from place to place, we bought an art print and a piece of furniture everywhere we lived. Our children can’t come home to the house where they spent their childhood, but there have always been pictures on the walls to remind them of all the wonderful places we lived and called home for a time.

While Tim was in Iraq for 13 months, I started writing a family cookbook. It took longer than expected, but eventually that became a Christmas gift for each of the kids. Almost every recipe describes a memory about that particular dish, and the cookbook reads a bit like a family history book.

Q: I love that idea! What do you think is an important character trait or skill for living in new places/a different culture?

A: Flexibility, patience, and a sense of adventure. Without it, you can miss out on so much.

Q: What would you say to those who feel out of place in a new area—what encouragement would you give them?

A: Be patient. Friendships are built over time. As we moved around, I learned it takes a year to year and a half for a place to feel like home. I also learned I don’t need a large group of friends, though I enjoy that. All I really need is one friend, a kindred spirit, and Tim always made it a practice to pray for that one friend every time we moved.

Ask the locals lots of questions, what they do for fun, what are their favorite restaurants. Learning about the local traditions and customs provides a better understanding of those you live around. Reach out to your neighbors if they don’t reach out to you. Knock on their door with a gift of your favorite cookies and visit for a few minutes. You’ll be surprised at the doors that open!

---Continued in a few weeks!

201 views2 comments


Apr 27, 2021

SO good! Thanks 🌻


Mandy England
Mandy England
Apr 27, 2021

So many creative ideas! Love this. 💛





I’m Audrey Ann—a writer who treasures the gift of travel, and I’m a mama who endeavors to love where I live one playdate, grocery trip, and sunset at a time. An island girl with heartland roots, I currently live in the Cotswolds of the United Kingdom. 

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