Sunday, May 29, 2011

New Church Pictures

New pictures and a video of the remodeling done so far at the new church building have been posted on our ministry blog!  I've posted one here...notice the new windows on the side?  It's getting exciting!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Feel Like Talking

Which is a strange thing lately.  Maybe it's the beautiful morning~gray skies, cool with a nice breeze.  Ooooo!  I'm just loving it!  I know you think I'm crazy, but it has been so hot here lately (it's reached the 90's a few times in the past few days - our thermometer said 100, but I think it was off) that this cool day is absolutely refreshing.  Yes.  Ukraine gets pretty hot.  Last summer we reached the 100s in May and stayed there until the week before Sammy was born {an answer to prayer} then soared back up.  I'm beginning to think that Ukraine is a country of only two seasons - cooold winters and HOT summers.  We also have some crazy rain storms.  The other day I was out checking the laundry {skin frying in the scorching sun} and felt a big plop on my arm.  I checked quickly, thinking it must be a present from a bird because there were no clouds.  About that moment we had a down pour.  It has happened like that every day {except yesterday} this week.  The funny thing is, Bree was out walking and Eric had warned her to take an umbrella with her.  She thought "It's too sunny and hot for it to rain!"  Yep. {Think the coolness is bringing out the mainer in me.}  She left it at home and was hit with two rain showers before she got back home.  Needless to say, she has brought an umbrella with her every day since.

I told you I felt like talking.  It isn't just the weather that has revived me.  I'm not ready to tell all yet {maybe soon}, but I have been struggling lately (It isn't anything serious, just thought I should clarify so that I don't have anyone worried.) and I feel like I am finally ready and willing to surrender.   What peace this brings!  What joy!  I know it will still be a long battle and I will still have my moments of discouragement, but I feel like I can make it now...no matter what He requires of me.  I'm like Anna and Lydia when they are first learning to put on their clothes crying "I can't do it!  I can't do it!".  Once they just calm down and take it slow, maybe ask please for a little guidance, they are able to easily put their clothes on by themselves.  Yes.  I have been that bad lately.  I have cried "I can't do it!  Why do you expect this of me?  No one else has to! {not true, but we always say it anyways don't we?}"  In my devotions I have started reading in Hebrews.  This morning sitting quietly on my rocker and enjoying the nice breeze from the window, God calmly reassured me that He was not only here but understood exactly what I was going through!  This is what He said...

"For verily he took not on him the nature of angels;
but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren,
that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God,
to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted,
he is able to succour them that are tempted."
Hebrews 2:16-18

He wasn't made like an angel, or with supernatural power to endure all that He suffered.  No.  He was made like me.  He suffered on this world, in a human body, with a human mind and feelings.  He did this so that He could help me and understand me.  Because of what He went through, He knows my frame and what I can handle.  Even more than that, He will succour me.  {Succour - assistance in time of distress; relief} When I am in distress He may not get me out, but He will provide assistance through it and relief.  What a blessing to know He understands and will always give me the assistance I need to get through every trial - no matter how big and difficult or small and silly {to others}.  He will give me relief of my burden as I leave it on Him.  What peace I can have as long as I lean on Him!

What a fellowship, what a joy divine, Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine, Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, Leaning on the everlasting arms.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear, Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, Leaning on the everlasting arms. 
Elisha A. Hoffman

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chaste


Starting again in the Titus 2 study, we are on the word chaste {morally pure; modest; simple in design or style}. 

Because there were not many verses on chaste, I also looked at Proverbs 9 -the opposite of a chaste wife.  Vs. 13 says:
“A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.” 

Later in the chapter it says that she cries
“Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” 

Am I modest and simple in my design or style of clothing? 
Or is my dress and attitude clamorous? 
Am I trying to draw attention to myself?  
Is my dress causing men to secretly lust after me? 

The {cultural} dress here is very different from America.  Everything in their dress is to draw attention to their bodies.  Everything is flashy and/or immodest.  I know that it is somewhat like that in America, but it is so much worse here.  In the summer, everyone is wearing see-through shirts and mini skirts that they must have bought in the children’s section.  Between the women and the naked posters/magazines, there is so much pressure to look beautiful and skinny.  Though I am not tempted to dress that loosely, sometimes when I am dressing I catch myself wanting to wear or not wear an outfit based on whether it makes me look slimmer and prettier or not.  I get caught up in the struggle to be beautiful in “men’s” eyes instead of asking myself 
“Does this outfit draw people to God? Or to ME?” 

Part of this is because, being an American, I am watched and judged everywhere I go.  And Ukrainians have told me {on more than one occasion} that Ukrainians are the most beautiful women in the world.  I pray that I will not let this pressure me and that I can be chaste {modest and simple in my style}, so that my dress does not distract from the Gospel but rather points people to Christ.  Instead of people saying, "Oh, what a beautiful, pretty lady!"  for them to say "She really believes the Bible and there is a difference about her."  and be drawn to learn more about CHRIST.

1 Peter 3:1-5 talks about an unsaved husband who is won to Christ because of the way his wife lives.  I think this also applies to the unsaved world around us.  A chaste wife is not a common thing in our world and the world is watching the Christian wife to see how she is different.  We either draw them to Christ or push them away.

Whether it's modest or not...why do you wear what you wear?  Your actions will show your heart.  Modest, simple clothing is ruined with a loud, attention-drawing demeanor.

We are to be "chaste...that the Word of God be not blasphemed".

Missed a study?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Back On

And in record timing!  Eric brought the computer in yesterday to be repaired, expecting them to say come back in a week (then when you come back a week later, it's usually not done and will be ready next week...has gone on for 3 weeks before!); but they finished it in 1 afternoon!  Guess we should have brought it in a few months ago! 

So what have we been up to?  Bree and I finished the garden!  YAY!  And while we were working, the girls played with the neighbor girls and chilled...
{Doesn't she look comfy?}

On Thursday, Eric had some work to do in the city, and Bree was going to hang out with Lina, so I decided to take Lydia with me for a little Mama time.  We walked around the center and found a park!  Lydia loved it!



I made our bed {couch} a little late the other day and this is what I found the girls doing...

And.....Cucumber season has started!  Brianna could not be more excited.  She LOVES cucumbers.  Yuri brought us a bag of cucumbers on Sunday and we enjoyed them on the way to church.  Yum, yum!


Even Sammy had some.

Eric went over to the church building last night and said that it is looking very nice.  I can't wait to see it and take pictures!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Absent

If you have noticed a lack of posting, it is due to computer problems.  Even now it is extreemly difficult to type.  So until this gets taken care of, you may not hear from me for a little while.  I look forward to getting caught up both on my blog and your's soon.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

At Least We're Good for a Laugh

Out we trudged {Bree and I} through the pouring rain carrying our little trusty shovels {aka-the kids plastic sand shovels}.  And wouldn't you know it, just as we reached the garden Yuri, Kristina and Lina showed up.  With grinning faces and umbrellas in hand, they wanted to know what we were doing.  Why!  Planting tomato, pepper and califlower plants of course!  Oh well.  I may not know how to garden, but at least we're good for a laugh!

Want to know what else is in the Vvedenka gossip circles?  The American girl tilling {can it be called that if it's done with hand and shovel?} up the ground for her garden after having 3 babies!   {Yes, that's considered a very large family.  How do I ever manage?!? hehe} 

Even though it has been a cold and rainy week, it has been a good one.  I have been enjoying my Mother's Day/VERY early Birthday gift {even more after I saw the exact same one at another store for about $130 MORE!  Isn't that insane?} ...

{Pretty soon, that whole area on the left will be filled with white flowers...unless the seeds decide not to come up or they end up being purple instead, which has happened.}

While we relaxed on the swing, this is what the girls were doing... 
And they thought having a big family was hard work. ;)






{I know you're all amazed by my great photo-taking ability.  It only took me about 10 tries before I figured out how to catch it.}

This is for you, mom.  Lydia won't go anywhere without them.


Our yard before Eric weed wacked it...

Sammy enjoying a new treat...

Pizza Pockets!  They were absolutely delicious and addicting.  We all couldn't stop eating them!  You can find the recipe at Jessi's blog ~ Joy Unspeakable.  Not only does she have some tasty recipes, but her blog is very sweet...but that's not surprising with a name like that. ;)

And to prove what a terrible gardener I am, look what I found growing in a rock pile on our yard...
Mint!  I tried planting some last year and it all died!  The rocks beat me!  At least I still get to enjoy the tea.  If you have never tried it, even if you don't like mint tea, you need to give it a try.  It taste and smells like spearmint!  The girls love it as well.  Mmmm.  Think I'm going to go get myself a cup right now!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Even though...

 you wipe your oatmeal all over my piano {Sammy}...

Run into all of the corners in the house {Sammy}...

And run grinning, with Aunti behind you yelling no, to pull every book off the shelf {Sammy},
And not put them back straight {girlies}...

You know how to make messes fun.
video
I LOVE you!

A Day in Kharkov

Last Thursday, Bree and I had fun hanging out with Lina.  We ate at an Ukrainian cafe, saw a few monuments, looked at paintings done by nationals, got caught in a downpour without a single umbrella...yes, even that was fun.  I forgot my camera, thankfully Lina has one.  We couldn't get her to take a picture with us. :(



The fun continued after the Bible lesson with Valodia.  Before giving rides back home, Yuri played a little joke on Bree.  Poor Bree!  But she was such a good sport!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

~To be Discreet~


As I read though my study of Titus 2 I'm amazed at how much I miss sometimes by just reading through chapters.  This study has made me stop to seriously think and examine myself in light of God's Word.  It has been humbling how short I fall of being God's perfect woman. I've often wondered, if I was living during the time when Jesus was to be born, am I the type of woman He would have chosen to bear and raise HIS Son? I've always sadly had to admit no, but I pray that He will help me to become that woman.

God desires that I would be discreet ~ having or showing prudence and self-restraint in speech and behavior. Since their aren't many verses on discreet, I looked up the word prudent ~ careful about one's conduct. There were many good, convicting verses, but the main theme that stood out to me was that the prudent man knows which way he is heading.  

"A prudent man forseeth the evil, and hideth himself:
but the simple pass on, and are punished."
Proverbs 22:3 & Proverbs 27:12 

Proverbs 19:14 says "a prudent wife is from the Lord."

I cannot just let my children and my relationship with my husband just go with the flow, for that will only lead to trouble. I should always be searching and tending little weeds that may have grown up...weeds of rebellion -no matter how small- in the lives of my children...maybe a lack of communication between my husband and I, or being too busy to care for his needs like I should. Satan is always looking for a way to get in and can use the little rebellion in my children's lives against God. And here, there is always a woman on the hunt for my husband, who would be more than willing to shower him with the attention that he needs; and the immodesty here is more than most could even imagine.

In the books of Isaiah and Amos it talks about God punishing Israel by taking away their prudent men and as a result, they were under oppression and the children rose up proudly against their elders. It seems like in this day, prudence is lacking.  Most wives are under oppression, losing their marriages and raising disrespectful,arrogant children. I pray that God will not totally take away prudence and that He will help me carefully watch over the needs and direction of my family.

God commands us to be discreet "that the Word of God be not blashphemed".

Missed a study?

Monday, May 9, 2011

M-O-T-H-E-R

What a precious word, or in my case, Mama.  The sound is so dear to my ears!  Oh how I longed to hear that precious word the first 4 years of our marriage!  Then, 4 years ago I celebrated my first Mother's Day.  I was 6 months pregnant with our first baby, a little girl and I was very excited.  Eric bought me roses that first Mother's Day from the rinok near the church.  Now God has blessed me with 3 little ones who call me Mama.  May He help me to be worthy of the calling! 
I praise the Lord that He allowed me to grow up in a home where my mom LOVED being a mom.  In a generation where all women were equal and had "praise worthy" jobs, she made sure we - and everyone else - knew her career and greatest treasure was us (ALL 7 of us) and she wouldn't trade places with anyone.  I remember groaning in the mornings as she had us clean then spend what felt like forever to us standing orderly, quoting scriptures, singing songs and learning sign language (we often complained that it had nothing to do with school and couldn't we just do school?  Now, I'm going to do the same. hehe..want to give my kids something to remember).  I remember her spending hours studying our books to teach us Math, Science, History....she took our education serious.  Out of all of my memories, one of my most precious was when I would come down stairs in the middle of the night and see her praying...knowing it was for me and my siblings.  She made me want to be a mom.  I love you, Mom!  Thank you for loving us and showing us an example of a perfect mom!

Friday, May 6, 2011

~To Love their own Children~


The week I was studying "to love their children" 1 Corinthians 13, a passage on charity, kept coming to mind.  I decided to look at the word charity and apply it to my relationship with my children.

"Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned."
1 Timothy 1:5
~ We're given a command to not only have the motions of love towards our children, but have it come from a heart full of love.

It says in 1 Corithians 8:1 that charity edifieth.  Edify means to encourage moral or spiritual improvement.  Do our actions encourage our children to be morally or spiritually better?



"Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."
1 Timothy 2:15 

Sobriety means solemnity or deeply earnest.  One question that comes to mind when reading this passage is saved from what? We know that giving birth does not save us from our sins or eternal separation from God, so what could it mean?  The passage talks about the woman being deceived. So in context of this passage, she shall be saved from further deception or falling into sin if she submits to her role of wife and mother and does her job in faith, in CHARITY, in holiness WITH EARNESTNESS. If we take our job seriously, we also won't swallow the world's lies of needing a career for fulfillment or fall into the sin of wasting time.

1 Peter 4:8 says "Charity shall cover the multitude of sins" ...we all make mistakes in parenting.

"-Though I speak with tongues of men & angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
-And though I have the gift of prophecy, & understand ALL mysteries, & ALL knowledge;
-and though I have ALL faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity,
I AM NOTHING.
-And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor,
-and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charitym, it profiteth me nothing."
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
~I think that's true in our relationship with our children too. We could do many great things, be the wisest person in the world, but unless we LOVE THEM we will LOSE THEM.
What is charity?  The Bible gives an excellent definition:


Charity
~suffereth long (Am I patient...long suffering...with my children?)
~is kind
~envieth not (Parents have to be careful of this with their children too.)
~vaunteth not itself (Are we boasting about how good 'we were' at such and such? Instead of being proud of the level they are at? )
~is not puffed up
~doth not behave itself unseemly
~seeketh not her own (Am I more concerned about me time, my clothes, my nails...instead of of my children and taking care of my home?)
~is not easily provoked (even with a lack of sleep)
~thinketh no evil
~rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth (faithful to discipline when necessary, but remember to love and be excited for them in the good)
~beareth all things (100 diapers, 3 wet beds/bedding, broken candles...all in one day!)
~believeth all things
~hopeth all things
~endureth all things."
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
We are not going to win and keep our children by our knowledge or wise words, but by our love..."Charity never faileth" but prophesies, tongues & knowledge shall all fail, cease & vanish away. "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." 1 Corinthians 13:8, 13

God commands that us to love our children "that the word of God be not blasphemed".  Are you blaspheming the Word of God?

Previous commands we have studied:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Brianna ~ Trading her Knight for a Prince

She wasn't looking for him...he just hopped into her life.

She is MUCH braver than I am!  What if he had hopped into her face????  Ewwww!  I'm quivering just thinking about it!

Bree has been helping me quite a bit accomplish some of my goals around the house.  Yesterday we finished filling my 'flower bed' area with dirt and I was able to plant most of my flower seeds.  Everything is starting to look nice!
Don't you just love our village style?

The girls are starting to have more of a preference in clothing, which is cute.  I had their clothes picked out for Sunday, but Anna had her heart set on the looong, flowy dress Papa bought her from the second hand store.  It is still a little big and I was going to have her wear a sweater over it, but she loved the bow so much that I just had her wear a shirt underneath.  Lydia had to pick out her dress too, of course.  Don't they look like little princesses?

While the girls were busy twirling, Maxime drew my potrait...what do you think?

Eric and I went over and visited with Kristina yesterday.  Both she and Valentina are having a very hard time right now.  Please be praying for them and their family situations.  There is so much drunkeness here and it is destroying families.  On Sunday Anna pointed out a man and said that he was drinking alcohol.  I was surprised and saddened that she even knew that word, but it is such a common thing here (and pronounced almost the same in Russian) that she just assumes if someone is carrying a bottle (and it doesn't say Coke a cola) that is alcohol.

Everyone is up and moving around, so I guess I better get going.  Hope you all have a good day...I'm sure looking forward to mine since I'm going to be riding into the city with my love. :)

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