Sunday, April 29, 2012

Flutter Brain of an Inactive Missionary

 AHH!  Where to begin?  I have so many things I want to write about and share with you but my mind draws a complete blank as soon as I actually have time to sit down and write!  We have been riding in the car SO much that it might be nice to not have a vehicle when we get back to Ukraine.....I take that back.  We will be returning right when it's starting to get cold.  I do still miss my more active lifestyle in Ukraine.  It seems like all I do is sit now.

Only 1 1/2 months until we get to see my parents!  We are all getting excited.  For some (Sammy and Daniel) it will be the first time meeting their grandparents...though the girls were still quite small last time we saw them (Lydia was about 9 months and Anna was 2).  We enjoyed watching videos that Grampy made over the years, so I'm sure it won't take them long to warm up and start having fun.  After that, we will head up to Maryland for a month, visit with some old friends (looking forward to seeing you, Tiffany!); then it's back up to Maine.  The kids all said it's been too long since we've been to Grampy and Grammy Curtis' house and I know they are looking forward to destroying  .. helping in the garden.  I'm just going to be the bunny who sneaks in and nibbles off of everything.  One of the things I miss from Ukraine are the fresh herbs - ESPECIALLY the fresh dill.  The kids and I could eat a ton of that.  When I first arrived in Ukraine, I greatly missed all of the American salad dressings (ranch, blue cheese..).  But as long as you have dill, you don't need any of those.  In fact, it is better with the dill and a little apple cider vinegar or oil.  Mmmm.  I can smell and taste that fresh dill now.  Looking forward to a BIG bowl of borsch with freshly chopped dill sprinkled on top and a piece, no a LOAF, of black bread. :)

Even with nothing to say, I have managed to ramble my time away.  The kids are just starting to wake up and we are going to head outside.  They need to run as much as they can whenever they get an opportunity.  Because I've been having quite a few breathing/coughing problems, Eric left us here at our home church while he went to the meeting tonight.  I am enjoying a little break, um...with 4 kids.   I would appreciate your prayers concerning my health.  Not sure exactly what it is, but I am back on steroids for a short period of time.  It has also been recommended that I see a lung specialist.  I am hating that because they will probably just tell me it is nothing and to stay on steroids or something.  If so, I can probably just control it by monitoring what I eat - which I haven't been doing to well lately.  Too much good American junk. :)

Guess I need to get going.  The kids are all antsy to get outside...and so am I. 

(The pictures were taken when we went to the Richmond park with our Pastor on just a fun outing.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Around Tennessee - part 3

It has been so long since our visit to Tennessee that I considered just skipping this post and moving on.  Until I saw this guys face...

When we first pulled up to the little petting zoo, we were greeted by this guy strutting his feathers around.  Isn't he beautiful?!

Eric decided not to bring the stroller out this time, so Lydia actually fact, she was the bravest one!

This zebra did not want us petting him.  He would grab the food we offered then quickly turn away.

Anna and I went into the deer kennel, but we didn't stay long as they were a little overwhelming.  We didn't think we were going to make it out!  (Maybe that's why Anna was nervous about the other animals.)  They were a little too friendly for her.

The llama was very willing to pose for me and even waited for me to switch my camera batteries. :)

I had to snap pictures quick when the kids sat down on this little bench not only because my batteries were dead (again), but also because I thought the bench might collapse!

The peacock came out to say goodbye when we were leaving.  The kids had so much fun!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Around Tennesse - part 2

After the aquarium, we went to Parrot Mountain...again - AMAZING!  There were verses everywhere, reminding us of our Great Creator.  Anna and Sammy loved it, but Lydia just wanted to stay in the stroller.  (Another blessing.  A sweet friend gave me a double stroller for Daniel and Sammy, but Lydia gets in it every chance she gets.)

The birds were BEAUTIFUL and the kids were amazed that they could talk. :)

We walked through the beautiful, peaceful garden...

and played by the falls.

Sammy is always ready to give kisses and I LOVE it.

Saw this and thought it would be perfect behind my house in Ukraine with my grape vines growing over it...

They had a section with a stable, 3 crosses and an empty tomb.  I had wanted to do something with this picture for Resurrection Sunday, but didn't have time.

The kids weren't brave enough to feed the birds, but they enjoyed watching Daddy do it.

They even had birds for sale, but it didn't look like this guy wanted to be sold.

Don't we have an Awesome Creator?!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Around Tennessee - part 1

Last week we went to visit one of our supporting churches in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  We were going to stay on the western side of Virginia (still about 6 hours away), but the pastor said we could stay Monday to Thursday there.  That gave us Tuesday and Wednesday morning to explore.  Because of God's blessings, we were able to see some pretty amazing things.  We have such an awesome Creator!
I took SO many pictures and decided to break up our visit into three parts.  These pictures are from the aquarium.  It is the most amazing aquarium we have ever seen!  After walking around up top, we walked through a tunnel below the water!  Even Daniel was enthralled.

The next stop was the penguin play area.  The kids crawled through the tunnel to watch the penguins swimming above them, 
stuck their heads up to watch the penguins play above water,
while we watched from the outside. :)

Not the best photos, but pretty amazing!  If we ever do that again, we will be packing a lunch and stopping in the "food court" to eat lunch, then going through twice.  The kids could have spent ALL day there!

Butterfly Wings

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

How I desire for my children to give to God first!  Their life, time and money is not theirs.  God has the right to all of it, but many times He just asks that we give it first to Him.  Recently we have started giving them a small allowance so that we can teach them to give of their money first to God, then they can spend some.  When they finally earned $1.25, they tithed first ($ .25), then they went to the dollar store.  This was the first time that they have had money to spend and they had a hard time deciding.  Anna chose the butterfly wings.  That day, a man came up to them and gave each of the kids $1.  Anna immediately started talking about how she was going to give to God first.  Then on Wednesday, a Pastor gave her another $1!  In just one week, God had tripled their money!  They tithed off of that, then because Anna is so excited about giving to God, that Sunday night she gave one of her dollars!  As I leaned down to kiss her head she whispered "I gave one of my dollars to Jesus, mommy.  But I still have one left to spend."  Would I be willing to give 50% of a gift to God?  Isn't it funny how God uses child training and children to "train" and convict us?  


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