Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Word for 2011

I originally had no plans of doing this.  It just came about as I looked at other blogs, prayed and read God's Word.  I started thinking, what area of my life would I like God to help me strengthen the most this year?  In years past, I've studied the tongue and the heart.  Even though I could probably still profit from doing that study again, I felt like there was something more I needed to learn this year. 

My first thought was: organization ("Let all things be done decently and in order." I Corinthians 14:40).  But no, I don't want to get so caught up in doing things that I forget people.

Prayerfulness...I definitely want to spend more time in prayer this year, but that still didn't seem to be the right word.

I almost settled on the word Priorities...putting God first, my husband, my family then other ministries and household duties.  The word almost fit...but not quite.

What one word contained all of those things and more?  Is there a single word that would describe how I'd like to grow this upcoming year?  What do I want my year to be about?
  Relationships
I don't want to just pray to God or read about Him, but I want to develop a deeper and closer relationship with Him.

I don't want to just serve my husband, taking care of his every physical need, making sure his house is clean and he has a good meal...I want to take time to listen to his dreams, heartaches and be his best friend.

I don't want to just make sure my kids are clean, behaving, eating good meals and getting some type of education...I want to spend time with them, hold them when they cry, paint some masterpieces, have a few tea parties - win their hearts.

I don't want to just live in Ukraine, cook meals for church, pass out some tracts, learn Russian...I want to show them that I care about them personally, that my doors are always open for a cup of tea and that I love them.

Relationship...you may be thinking "Well, that's not a very hard goal."  But for me, it is.  As I've mentioned before, I'm a Martha type.  I get so busy doing that I forget relationships.  And since I tend to be a quiet type as well, it's much easier for me to just stay busy serving, especially if I might have to try talking to someone new in my poor Russian.

So I ask that you will pray for me, that God will help me keep my eyes focused on what is truly important this year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Anna

This is what our house sounds like first thing in the morning...
thought I'd give my sister a warning. ;) 
She said she was singing thank you to God. 
I think it had something to do with her heart being dirty and Jesus cleaning it.
video

In her defense, she can sing quite a few songs fully through. 
She just likes to make up her own songs too...
with her own made up words.

Her attitude seems to have changed a lot since she prayed.  She is no longer concerned about herself needing Jesus, but has started asking me whether or not I have prayed for Jesus to clean my sins or if Lina has.  She also asked Grampy if he knew about Jesus.  She has started asking to pray for Nikita and Alosha to be saved.  I pray that she continues to have a desire to see others come to know the Lord as their Saviour too.



New Office for Eric!

It's finished
Eric finished it today and as soon as the kids were in bed, he started moving all of his office stuff out of the entryway and up into the attic where Mom Curtis says we'll be storing him. hehe.




I am so excited for him! 
He's been waiting for this to be finished all year. 

What Has God Been Teaching You?

Brother Winstead never ends a conversation without asking you that question (or telling you that he's praying for you to have twins, hehe).  Well, this week I'd definitely have to say that God is teaching me the following...


Though that one wasn't my fault, I've had my share of accidents this week as well.  So much has broken this week that when I was cleaning the mirror today Anna said, 'Don't broke the mirror, Mama.'  And when I accidentally dropped the glass pepper grinder she came running out and asked, 'It break, Mama?'  And no, neither of those broke...in fact, I don't think I've broken anything today yet!  Better get to bed quick! 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Finally...A SNOW MAN!

As I write, our snowman is now only a little, muddy lump on the ground.  But the girls were SO excited to be able to finally make one!  The snow here is very dry and usually doesn't stick together very well, but before it all melted away, it was moist enough to stick together...parts of him kept falling off, but the girls had fun 'patting him back together'. 



Soon after coming inside, I put them to work emptying the washer.  They decided to make a snowman with the wet laundry.  My camera batteries were dying, but I managed a couple of pictures. 


Everything here has been so gray and dreary out, but one morning I woke up to this...
It was even more beautiful in person with so much color!  It might have come out even better if the window and screen weren't between us, but I wasn't about to venture out in the cold first thing in the morning!  With sunrises like this, I can't help but wonder how anyone could not believe in God!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

34 Days Until...

My Sister Comes! 


She called us two days ago and said "I'll be there on January 26th." 
Anna cried every time it was time to go to bed because
she thought Auntie Bree was coming 'today'. 
So, we did this so we can be counting the days.
None of us can wait for her to get here!
God has really blessed me with lots of surprises this Christmas!



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Importance of the Family Altar

Ever since Anna was a baby, we have gone through the Bible chronologically a number of times.  As we read through, we talked not only about the Bible account we were reading that day, but also how everything in the Bible points to our sin, our need of a Saviour and how Jesus died for our sins and only he can take away our sins.  When she disobeyed, we told her that the Bible says that Anna needs to obey mama and papa.  That it is sin to disobey and that she needs Jesus to help her obey.

Many times my heart would break as she would say "Anna doesn't have Jesus."  I would weep when I heard her asking Jesus to come into her heart and clean her, then say "Jesus, where are you?"  She'd begin looking under the bed saying, "I don't see Jesus, Mama."  Then she raised her voice louder and said "Jesus, please come.  Please, Please!" 

Today, we read about Jesus dying on the cross for us and while we were doing devotions, Anna said, "Papa, Anna wants to pray."  We continued with devotions...Anna a little more urgently, "Papa, Anna needs to pray."  A little while later, with her head bowed, hands covering her eyes and with even more urgency, "Please, Papa.  Anna needs to pray."  Eric, "Okay, Anna.  You can pray."  

"Dear Jesus, Thank you for my sins.  Thank you for Jesus dying for my sins.  Please clean my sins.  Help me to obey Mama and Papa.  Amen."  She then went to the picture we had of Jesus on the cross, kissed it and said, "Thank you, Jesus, for dying for my sins."

We never taught her a 'prayer' to say, just the Bible.  We were shocked and didn't know what to think.  We wondered, "Was she truly accepting Christ as her Saviour?  Did she really know what she was doing?"  Our first thought was, "She didn't have repentance."  Then we remembered that as soon as she had asked Jesus to cleanse her heart and acknowledged her sin of disobedience, she asked Jesus to help her to obey her Mama and Papa. 

Later, when we asked her what she prayed, she said she prayed for Jesus to come into her heart.  When we asked what Jesus did, she just smiled and rubbed her hands over her heart in a cleaning motion.

In our eyes she seemed too young, but Anna was very sincere and Jesus says to come unto Him as a child with child-like faith.  She recognized her need and of her own will, came and asked Jesus to save her from her sins.  Our prayer for our children has always been that they will accept Jesus as soon as they come to understand the Gospel.  We will continue to train our children up in the Bible, chronologically each morning and Psalms or Proverbs in the evenings, and ask that you pray that each of our children come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.     

Me Singing in Russian

video
I thought about not posting this, but here it is anyways
with all of it's musical and probably gramatical errors.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Who Will Go To America?

This post has been heavy on my heart for many months now.  Each time I receive a note patting me on the back for how awesome I am for 'giving my life' to be a missionary or when I read about what is happening in the lives of our families, friends or news....I wonder, while I am serving God here, who is going to my family, friends and country? 

First, I do not believe that I am any more special for obeying God and coming to Ukraine than a Pastor or Church Bus driver who is following God's will in America.

Being a missionary in a different country does not make me any more special or valuable in Christ's service than a Pastor or Sunday School teacher who God has called to America.  If God calls you to go to America, you better not go to the mission field...if God calls you to go to Africa, you better not stay in America.

Many people feel like they have to go somewhere different in order to do something worthwhile for God with their lives.  You don't need to come to Ukraine to make a difference.  All around you are people dying and going to hell.  Little children, older people, teenagers, rich business men...Are American Christians so involved in their daily activities and entertainment that they cannot see? 

It seems like many are waiting to be used greatly by God, but not doing anything.  Do you truly want to be used of God?  Than serve where you are first.

What is your first priority?  Jesus Christ?  Your job?  Money?  Fun?  It is not wrong to have a job, money or even fun.  It is wrong if they are first and most important to you - your goal...with Jesus as a side. 

  How do you know if something is God's will or not?  Well, here are a few beginning questions.  1)Does it go against God's Word?   2)Does it interfere with my spending time in God's Word on a daily basis?  3) Does it interfere with my attending church services? (plural, not singular)  3) Does it interfere with my serving more in my local church? ...If you've answered yes to any of those questions, that's a pretty good indication that it's not God's will. 

You are more likely to find God's will if you are preparing to be a missionary than if you are pursuing a career.  You can not live your life, including Jesus when it is convenient.  But instead you must serve Him first and view your 'career' as a means that He has allowed you to have to further the Gospel.  

Many have told us that America needs missionaries too, so we should come 'home'. 
I agree.  America does need missionaries,
but I cannot go to America because God has not called me there. 
But what about you?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Snow and Snowmen

Saturday the kids and I got out to enjoy the fresh new snow.  They absolutely loved it. 



They especially loved Eric running them around the yard a few times...

And sliding down the small hill.

 Since the snow was a little too powdery to make a snowman
we made these... 

They didn't seem too disappointed with the substitute snowmen
and the little stars.


Sammy these days has been rolling all over the place. 
He says Mama when he's hungry and tired;
Anna sometimes;
And roars at people at church.
He cried the first time Eric said 'ra-ra-ra'...
Now he just 'ra's back.
He's just too cute!
He even puts his pacifier in his mouth by himself!


I know some are anxious to see the new addition on our house...
so will post pictures soon.
For now,
here's what the outside looks like now.
Major improvement.
Not only does it look better,
but already seems to be keeping us warmer.
Looking like everything will stay warm enough
so we'll have running water this winter!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hot Cocoa Mix


So many memories come with a warm cup of hot cocoa...
or for some of us hot carob,
poor deprived children.

In we'd come,
cold and wet from our hours of play in the snow,
to the delicious aroma flowing from the big pot of hot carob sitting on the stove.
We never understood why our friends never wanted a cup.

Even though I cherish the memories of the pots of carob,
it's the taste of Swiss Miss that we dream of when it starts getting cold...
You know, the one with the little marshmallows in it.

This year, at my husband's urging, I searched for
the perfect recipe...
and after some tweeking, I think I might have found it.
(Though it has been a while since we've had Swiss Miss.)

So, if you are away from your homeland and missing the Swiss too...
or if you just like to make up some gifts...
Here is a recipe for you to try.

Hot Cocoa

6 c.  Instant Dry Milk
1 1/2 c.  Granulated Sugar
1 1/4 c. Baking Cocoa
1/2 ts. salt
2 ts. (10 gr.) vanilla sugar
(Do Americans have vanilla sugar or powder?
We missionaries talk a lot about American cruisine...
but that's just so you don't get too jealous
about all the great food we get to eat!)

Mix well.

Add  1/2 c. mix to every 1 c. of hot water.
(or for a little cup like mine above, 1/4 c. mix to every 1/2 c. water.)

My husband even found a store here that carries American style marshmallows!  YUM!

Even though my husband thinks this is the best hot chocolate ever, and my girlies start singing every time I start to make it, I'm still having fun tweaking it.  I'm still really tempted by those recipes calling for powdered sugar and flavored creamers or instant pudding, but alas, not the easiest things to get or cheapest things on the mission field. 

Hope it makes your day a little warmer!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Back to Normal

Thank you all for your prayers, emails and contact information.  The contact information will be especially helpful to have. 


Our family is doing much better.  We still have the parasite, but pretty much all of the symptoms are gone.  We just need to stay faithful in our 'treatment' instead of stopping two days into it. 

Life has pretty much returned to normal this week, which is nice since I love it when we have somewhat of a schedule.  I even started Russian lessons again!  They have been planned for weeks now, but kept getting cancelled.  I seriously considered cancelling this time because we didn't get home from Wednesday night services until after 10 pm!  Because of Wednesday night services Thursday mornings are always slow and not really the best time for a Russian lesson, but don't know where else to put it.  We've had so many cancellations this week that I just couldn't cancel.  Thankfully I was able to distract her.  I love anything crafty...but I can't sew.  Oh I can throw a few things together, but I don't know how to do it right.  My Russian teacher also happens to be an excellent seamstress.  SO now in addition to my Russian lessons she will be teaching me to sew!  I will probably never cancel another Russian lesson, even if my brain feels like it's going to explode by the end.  The first things she is going to help me sew are nightgowns for the girls.  We've really been wanting those long, old fashion type gowns for them but I've been too nervous to try to make it on my own...besides the fact that I only have Russian patterns.  I started buying a few patterns that I saw in Russian, but have been too nervous to try any of them yet because besides not knowing how to sew...they are in Russian.  

Well, it is getting late here and I really need to be getting to bed.  I want to be well rested so I'll be able to enjoy the pretty, fresh, wet snow with my girlies in the morning.  Hopefully, it will not only still be there, but also still wet and not dry or icy.  It made pretty good snow balls today and the girls have been talking about making a snowman for a while now.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Missionary's Health

Well, our family has giardia again.  I actually had it around Thanksgiving, but was in denial thinking I was either pregnant or nervous about having everyone over.  I had other symptoms besides the gagging at every smell, sight or sound and Lydia had some symptoms, but still not wanting to admit it, just assumed it was something she ate.  Then the stomach pain started getting worse and I found out that I was definitely not pregnant...that left only one thing (which was pretty obvious the entire time) - giardia.  As soon as I started feeling better from that, the kids and I picked up a flu bug going around.  Even though we were sick, on Tuesday the kids and I decided to take a quick walk around.  Every babooshka on the street was out that day and in a mood to talk.  They asked lots of questions, but didn't give me many opportunities to talk.  So I came back with my mind overflowing with plans for a ladies' neighborhood tea.  As we headed back to our house, we saw Baba Nora outside.  She cannot let us pass without giving the girls something - candy, cookies, fruit.  She stopped us, ran inside and came out carrying two bright, round oranges.  Needless to say, by the time we made it back inside, we were all sneezing and coughing with noses running.  Wednesday, we had gotten worse so Eric made us stay home from church.  By Thursday, I was feeling so bad and the kids were cranky, I thought about begging Eric to stay home and help me that day.  Thankfully, he was able to get home a little early that night, 4 PM.  The girls might have been sick, but since he had had so many late nights that week the girls (and Sammy) were ready for playtime with Papa.  That night everything seemed okay and everyone went to bed fine.  Shortly after I climbed into bed Sammy woke up not feeling well. He was up crying until about one.  Then Anna woke up crying.  We rushed in to check on her and she was burning up.  Eric took her temperature and it was 104!  Thankfully, by the time she went back to sleep a half hour later, her temperature was down to 100.  On Friday Anna was doing much better with no or little fever, I was feeling worse though.  I had chills, fever and severe asthma problems.  Eric lovingly forced me back into bed, canceled all of his plans for the day and took over.  He even washed the dishes!  My temperature continued to rise throughout the day until it reached about 104 in the afternoon.  Soon after that it seemed like everything started to get better.  My temperature continued to drop and my asthma was getting better.  On Saturday, Eric was either in bed or in the bathroom all day sick with the giardia.  Needless to say, it was a rough week...a rough year as we have been hit with one sickness after another.

I say all of this not to be negative but with the desire that it will encourage you to pray more for the health of your missionaries.  It is not uncommon for a missionary to have to leave the field because of health reasons and we have heard of even a few missionaries to Ukraine who have died on the field.  It is not just the sickness itself which is the problem.  Most of your missionaries are living in places where not only is the medical care not as advanced as American, but also some of the customs of the people cause sicknesses.  (Like sticking their hand in the pickle jar and serving you with visibly dirty hands.  You really have to take no thought sometimes when you are eating.)

Even with all of the sicknesses, the girls have still had some pretty sweet moments.  Here's a video I took on Saturday.  The girls were rocking their babies and singing to them.  By the time I pulled out the camera they were almost done, but it is still cute.

video

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Sunday in Pictures

Eric's parents sent over an adorable
little church outfit for Sammy. 
Because I absolutely love it, I just had to post a few pictures.



 This was one of the many family photo attempts...
I didn't have much to choose from,
so I finally just chose the funniest.
And it's not my corny fake smile that I am talking about.
Take a closer look at Anna...





 Don't you just want to kiss those cheeks?


Valentina with the kids. 

Valentina and Sammy.
(Did you know that she was at our house for the births
of both Lydia and Sammy?)

Yuri and Vladamir

It snowed this morning.  The girls were so excited
I could barely drag them away from the windows
to get them ready this morning!
Every time it snows it makes such a huge difference in the landscape that all we can think about is the blood of Christ
how it covers all of our sins and makes us white as snow.
I wanted to take a picture, but the snow had already melted
by the time we got home from church.
Can't wait for it to make everything beautiful again!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ukrainian Thanksgiving trADDITIONS

Do you remember my Thanksgiving gift last year?  Well, this year Yuri and Christina brought something else that Ukrainians really enjoy...and unfortunately, it wasn't borsch.

As we were all getting ready to eat, Eric came up to me and whispered, 'Who brought the sandwiches?'  'Yuri and Christina...and you better eat it.'  We both knew that if we didn't, we'd offend them.  Soooooooo...we both lingered around the kitchen, eating slowly  looking for ways to hide and dispose of this delicacy, both of us knowing what the other was up to. 

'Are you going to throw it?'  I asked.  'Ummm.' was his reply.  'Well, if you find an opportunity you better take mine too!'

In the end, we ended up having to eat it.  What was this addition to our traditional Thanksgiving dinner?  It was...


A caviar sandwich


As each little ball burst in my mouth leaving a very salty, fishy taste I thought 'And they thought my potato soup was salty!' 

I can't complain too much though, because I know it could be much worse...in fact, I think last year's was worse.  I'm just thankful that our Thanksgiving meal didn't include bugs or something gross like that.

Thanksgiving ALWAYS has Pumpkin Pie

WOW!  I think I need to make it a rule that I do not blog when tired...that last post was sure....something.  It was like 5 post ideas squeezed into one.  I have a bad tendency to talk to much when I'm overtired...then I get into the giggling stage...then I cry.  The first time Eric witnessed it he thought (outloud) "Whoa!  What did I get myself into?"  SO, sorry that you had to witness that.

So, after all of my midnight rambling, how did our Thanksgiving go?  I can honestly say that this Thanksgiving was our best.  There seemed to be such a sweet spirit.  Sometimes after cooking meals, I feel like NEVER cooking for them again...Ukrainians are hard to cook for...or at least some of ours are.  I think part of it is just that they think everything in America is better, so at least they can say that their cooking is better.  I've learned to take it as a compliment when no one says anything negative.  But not only did they not say anything negative, but they also said they loved everything...Especially the turkey.  You see, this was the first time they had ever eaten turkey.  I wish you could have seen them as I pulled back the tinfoil from the turkey!  There were multiple "Ooooo!"s  and many "Take a picture!"s  Christina even made Yuri come in and take a picture!  It really was a sight!  Some crowding into the kitchen, some standing in the doorways, the rest looking over everyone's shoulders.  The turkey stole the show. 


Another thing that was long looked forward to was the pumpkin pie.  Eric later told me that Dema, Lena's husband, asked for the day off so he could come.  He also spent some time online researching our American Thanksgiving.  (I am SO glad that I did not know that ahead of time, otherwise I would have been Really nervous!)  In the car on the way over, he talked to Eric all about it.  One of the first questions he asked was, 'Will there be pumpkin pie?'  When Eric said yes, Dema matter-of-factly responded, 'Good.  Because Thanksgiving always has pumpkin pie.' 



What a blessing it was to be surrounded by them, our 'second family'.  The day would have been pretty depressing.  Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday and I think it has quickly moved back into my favorite again.  It's funny.  It's almost like I am living a parallel life.  On one side, I have the yearly, family Thanksgiving that I will always cherish and remember...it just seems like Thanksgiving.  But everyone is growing up, moving away, having families...so that Thanksgiving, the one that I remember and cherish, can never really be had again.  If I think about it, yes it's sad.  If I dwell on it, yes I'll be depressed.  But Praise the Lord for giving us new 'family' to make new Thanksgiving memories with.  The memories and traditions may be different, but they are still beautiful.  

And what do the Ukrainians think?
    "Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday!"
Yuri
 

Coming up: Ukrainian Thanksgiving tradditions. ;)

Monday, November 22, 2010

"There's a Fire! Get out of the van!"

Sitting in the very back of the van, Christina and I were completely oblivious to why we suddenly stopped in the middle of the road...or why everyone in the front seat was jumping out of the car...or why Pasha said he was walking.  No.  We didn't find out what was going on until they had pretty much fixed the problem.  It really wasn't as bad as they made it out to be (thankfully, because we were pretty stuck in the back of the van), just ended up being some smoke.  Pasha still decided to walk.  Even though he says that he doesn't believe the Bible or in a place called hell, he is still very scared at the thought of dying.  We continue to pray that God will work upon his heart to bring him to salvation.

Other than that, the services today were a blessing.  There seemed to be such a sweet spirit amongst the believers and Vladamir came today!  It was so good to see him!  He looked clean cut and put together today.  Dema, Lena's husband, also came.  This is the second, regular church service that he has attended (the first one was only the week before last).  A lot of people have been praying for his salvation, even before we were even considering being missionaries to Ukraine.  This is a huge step as he would not step foot in our doors for anything the first year or two we were here.  The first week that he came he argued the entire time.  This time, even though he 'discussed' some of his 'disagreements' with the scriptures, he had a much more pleasant disposition.  When we asked who was coming to Thanksgiving dinner at our house, he was the first to raise his hand.

Speaking of which....

I am SUPER excited for Thanksgiving this year!  If God allows, this will be our best Thanksgiving yet.  The 1st year we had a traditional, American Thanksgiving dinner...but it was still hard because it was our first Thanksgiving away from 'home', we also found out that day that our co-workers were leaving for America shortly.  Our 2nd year was sweet and sad.  My mom was here (YAY!), but she was leaving the next day (BIG SOB).  We chose to not waste time in the kitchen and had pizza for lunch.  Last year (our 3rd year) I had BIG plans, but I was pregnant with Sammy and so sick that I could barely make it off the couch.  We still had chicken (couldn't find a turkey), potatoes, and a few other things (like biscuits...no one had eaten them before and they disappeared before I turned around!).  Even though the meal wasn't exactly like I had 'planned', it was still a very sweet thanksgiving, and definitely our best yet...Up until now. :)  And, boy, have I got BIG plans.  I finally had to force myself to stop looking at recipes because I couldn't stop the list from growing!  I've already made the rolls and stuck them in the freezer (never tried freezing, but heard that 'everyone's doing it'), cleaning and re-arranging tomorrow while Eric shops (yes, ladies...he does the shopping.  But that's a post for another time).  Tuesday-make pies (thankfully, Valentina will be here to clean up my mess big Big BIG smile) and Eric will be picking up a turkey (at least that's the plan).  Wednesday - prepare the millions of veggie dishes and stuffing and brine the turkey.  Thursday - go crazy...well, hopefully not.  What I'm REALLY hoping is that I can fit everything in my refridgerator.  It is a pretty short fridge (shorter than me!  Not saying that I am short or anything...I'm taller than most of my neighbors.).  I'm also trying to figure out how to fit everything in the freezer...but if we have to, maybe we can turn it on it's back and jump on it to get everything in?  Problem #2 might be the oven.  I am pretty envious of the 'normal' American oven right now.  When I visited the states last year, that's the only thing I remember (and getting lost in the toothpaste aisle and the freedom to go shopping...I can tell it's late because I am getting WAY off track)  I was enchanted with them.  When my Mimi noticed my constant attraction to her stove, I responded "I love your stove!  Did you special order a large one?"  "No.  Why?"......let's just say I can only fit one pie pan in my oven at a time.  But I think I've got everything all planned out.  Problem #3 is the only one that I have no control over.  It is the fluxuating electricity.  Thankfully, we have not had to deal with them turning the electricity completely off as much this year.  What we do have to deal with is not enough voltage coming into the house to run the stove.  The other day it took me three times as long as normal to cook my chicken.  So, I'm praying.  Of course we will not be with family but, especially around the holidays, I remember the promise Jesus made in Mark 10:29,30...

"Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,
But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions: and in the world to come eternal life."    

I definitely think that Christ has fulfilled His promise to us.  And though they can't replace our family back home, we are very grateful that we have them.  We have only one of two choices...

1 - Look at all of the leaves falling off of the trees and cry because we
miss the green beauty that once covered the now bare trees

or

2 - Notice the sunset...praising and thanking God for the beauty in all seasons.


    
Which are you noticing?  Are you dwelling on the full diaper pail, the kitchen sink overflowing with dishes....or are you enjoying the coos, giggles and "read to me, Mama" ?


Hope you all have a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING and don't forget to enjoy the sunset!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Look What Is Now In Almost Every Kharkov Store....


The picture says it all...need I say more?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It Seems Like Only Yesterday...

you were but a tiny bundle in my arm.
Now sitting amongst your dolls to play
you're a little lady full of graceful charm.


Making her cake.

Cards from the states.

Her favorite breakfast...pancakes.

Gifts!  (Sharing with Sammy.)

Papa found you some chicken nuggets, french fries and REAL Heinz ketchup!




Lydia

     Graceful                      Sharing    
          Cuddly     
   Tender hearted                               Loving  
              
 Sometime stubborn     

Kissable           Huggable       Loveable     Sweet

                           Compassionate

A little mommy                                     

           A 2 Year old little lady

Happy Birthday!
I LOVE you!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Good Woman

As I type, Eric is on his way home with Sammy's passport in hand.  YAY!  This is always an exciting time for us as our kids become "real" Americans.  He applied for Sammy's S.S. card while he was there as well.  The whole time before and during his trip my prayer has been that God would give him opportunities to witness.  He has told me about 3 men that he has talked with so far.  The first was a Turkish muslim.  Eric said it felt weird because while Eric was witnessing to him, the guy was also trying to convert Eric to muslim.  He kept telling Eric to just  read the Koran.  He told Eric that Jesus was going to come back and tell everyone that the muslim religion was the true way.  The second guy actually started talking to Eric first, calling him a sect.  Eric explained to him that we are not a sect and that we believe the Bible.  The guy was an orthodox and most claim to believe the Bible, but he quickly started to try to find fault with stories in the Bible and said that he did not believe the Bible.  He wasn't even willing to read the Bible to get his stories straight.  The third guy (the taxi driver who drove him to the embassy) was a little bit more receptive and took the tract that Eric offered him.  God is giving him opportunities to witness, even if he has been met with a lot of opposition.  The second guy reminds me a lot of Pasha, Eric's translator.  He is always looking online for faults with the Bible and brings it to Eric without even looking at the verse in context.  After he looks at the verse in context with Eric he always seems to agree with Eric.  He is traveling to Russia on a business trip right now and I've started praying that God would put a Christian in his path to witness to him.  How exciting it is to see God answer prayer! 

Well, since Eric is away, I was in charge of the family devotions tonight.  I almost decided to just pray and sing with them since Sammy was screaming, the girls were SO hyper, I was exhausted, achy and not feeling well...  Then I thought about Proverb 31 and the virtuous woman.  I thought, "It might be a little over their heads, but they're already learning what a bad woman is, they might as well start learning about a good woman."  Because Sammy was still screaming, I laid him in the other room while we did devotions.  We started going verse by verse, talking about each verse as we went.  Anna was so intent on it and even offered examples sometimes.  As we read, I was so convicted about how I have slacked in some areas of what God considers truly beautiful and what make up a good woman.  With that still heavy on my heart, I sang Jesus Loves Me to them and turned off the light.  Anna said, "Mama."  "Yes, Anna?"  I replied, thinking she was wanting a drink or something.  "You're a good woman."  WOW!  She gave me that title, even though my house is not always up to par, I'm sometimes lazy, don't always have meals ready on time, I could go through every verse and find something that I am doing wrong...oh, yes, I have my excuses, but in light of the Bible I know they are not really all that good.  Lord, help me to become that virtuous woman...that good woman!    

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Heading Outside

It is a beautiful day here and probably as soon as the girls are up from their naps, we're headed back outside.  "Just us girls" (as Anna put it) took a walk down the dirt road and over the bridge by the river.  It was so fun to hang out with my girlies.  We threw rocks in the river, watched the babooshkas lead their goats out to pasture, saw some kitties, puppies and ducks.  Definitely need to do that more often.  As I am typing, Sammy is giggling and playing with one of the girls' koala slippers.  I love his happy sounds.  Poor Eric is again sick in bed with a stomach flu.  We were thinking it could be something that he was eating or drinking, but Lina is sick as well.  Please be praying that he gets over it quicker this time and that it stays away.

Valentina came yesterday to watch the girls while I went with Eric to pass out tracts.  I ended up just sitting in the car most of the time because I couldn't really pass out tracts while holding Sammy.  It was still nice to just go along and when we got back, Valentina had brought a little bit more order to the home.  Between all of the sicknesses and the remodeling (THE ROOM IS ALMOST FINISHED!  I am SOOOOO excited!  Off the subject, so I'll talk more about that in a different post.), order has been a little hard to keep.  Don't know what I'd do without Valentina!

Well, my mind is very flitty right now and I hear the girls waking up, so I'll leave you with these few pictures.


 Anna pushed Lydia around for a while, then decided that it was her turn. 
But, Lydia gave up after a few tries.


Eric visited with Kristina's mom on Tuesday and on the way home picked me up these....


Five, beautiful red roses.  So beautiful that I thought they deserved a photo shoot.

He also found some information about an allergy/asthma clinic here in Kharkov.  Lina gave me the web site for it.  It looks (and sounds) pretty good.  I think my asthma is getting better, but will probably still try to make an appointment.

Lastly, I promise, Sammy's passport is ready and Eric is planning on picking it up on Thursday.

Well, heading outside to get me some fresh air!

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