Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thought for Today

Last week I rejected this comment to my safe sex post because of the link this person posted along with their comment. After thinking about it I have deleted the link and will post the comment for all to see:

"That's great for people who are married. But for the millions of people who are not yet married I would recommend the following link:
Seriously, to suggest that marriage is the solution for unsafe sex is not only naive but irresponsible. Note that even fundamentalists like Sarah Palin's daughter are having sex BEFORE marriage. Your blog post is cute but inappropriate."
written by anonymous

My post was cute, possibly thought provoking, but hardly inappropriate.

There are other considerations that need to be made before having sex that are not related to a communicable disease or an unwanted pregnancy.

Condoms are not a magic cure all.

Condoms are not capable of protecting the heart or the spirit.

Confining sex to marriage is not solely related to keeping yourself free of disease… but also to protecting emotions, guarding your heart, and honoring your spiritual self.

The admonition to guard one's heart is hardly naive... but (sadly) rarely considered by today's media in reference to this topic. In my humble opinion, advocating self care in all of it's forms is now and will always be highly appropriate.

Have you ever

walked around a corner and thought you saw someone standing there??

Well, thanks to the newfound hobby of my incredibly talented husband I get to feel this sensation several times a day!

Tom is using old window frames
as frames for his pastels!

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Spencer made it to Kiev!! He said that everything went well on the train. We have spoken to him briefly, he is still carrying his Russian cell phone so we can call him or send him text messages.

He is planning to buy a Ukrainian SIM card for his cell phone but he has been so busy working on his new apartment that he has not had much free time! There is an apartment for the female students and an apartment for the male students. He told us that the male's apartment is not ready yet and he had been helping to hang wallpaper... Tom assured him that this was a great skill to have for real life!

Tom has been cleaning out Spencer's old room. Tom's new hobby is working with pastels so he is preparing an art room to work in. I am grateful for this because right now his little "studio" is on my side of the bed...I hate stepping in pastel dust in the morning!!

Nathan is enjoying his first year at college. He was able to test out of the first year English classes so he jumped into a Creative Writing class right away... we were able to read one of his assignments and can already see him growing as a writer!

As for me, I started singing with the worship team at our church. My first rehearsal was the night Spencer left. My first time singing up front was yesterday. It feels good to sing again. I have some music terms to learn in Russian... which will be fun since I love new words! I am singing harmony which is new for me. I am finding joy in using the skills I learned at UC Irvine many years ago. Everyone on the team knows solfege and they don't use music notes just chords!

We had Vasa, Aloana and their kids over for dinner after church on Sunday. They lived with us for almost a month when she was pregnant with their youngest and he is now two! They just returned from 4 years serving as missionaries in Daghestan. They planted a church, he discipled and trained men there and was able to install a pastor to take over for him when they left. Hearing their stories was amazing. They lived under constant stress there and in fear for their lives because of the radical behaviour of the dominant religion there.

I think that is all of our news so far... if not then I will have something to talk about tomorrow!

Friday, September 26, 2008

weighing in!

I am finally back on the right track... I am down two pounds this week!

I did a better job not succombing to the temptations of potato chips and chocolate this week. But I HAD TO eat some of Stephanie's homemade cinnamon rolls... I know Tom will read this question my use of the phrase "had to" but I am gonna stick to it. If you tasted one of Stephanie's cinnamon rolls you would know that they are one of those "had to eat" things!

I did get the courage up to join in over here:

Hot for the Holidays

it is not too late to join in the fun!!

For those of you wondering where Spencer is right now... we believe that he got across the border safely! We will know for sure once he gets on Facebook or he buys a Ukrainian SIM card!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spencer is on his way...

to Kiev!

We put him on the train today... with the help of several very loving friends. Thanks to Brennen for driving us there, Vlad, Joy, Hannah, TJ, Lena, and Lena P for being there with us to say goodbye to Spencer.

It was hard to say goodbye but it was good to know that he is starting a new chapter in his life. We are grateful to God for allowing us to be the parents of two incredible sons!

I, as a mom felt like today was bitter-sweet. I know he is going on to the great things that God has planned for him. But the era of our little nuclear family being together under one roof has ended.

Thanks again for all of the prayers on his behalf. He should arrive in Kiev at 3:15 tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Thought for Today

...what to wear when planning to have safe sex

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

There was an old lady

who sat on the bus, carrying a bucket, a four foot tall mirror (the kind that goes at the back of a dresser), and her purse. Inside the purse was a potato chip bag. Inside the potato chip bag was her coin purse. Inside her coin purse was her bus pass! Yep, true story… just ask Tom. He told me all about her when he got home. I suppose she kept her coin purse in the potato chip bag so noone would steal it!

Friday, September 19, 2008

weighing in!

I am up a pound.

I didn't want to post that... I wanted to say that nothing changed.

But that wouldn't be true. And Tom keeps reminding me that the "truth is always your friend".

We had several meals out this week due to meetings with EastWest and I was not very good at keeping portion sizes under control or getting out to walk.

So there you have it. I was going to join this group today but I need to get motivated to sign up!

Hot for the Holidays

The other reason I am most likely overeating is that Spencer is leaving next week for Kiev, Ukraine. He leaves Russia on the 25th and arrives in Ukraine the following day. I was doing fine until we purchased the tickets... and now that I know my family will be spread out over three different countries I am feeling rattled. With Nathan in the US, Spencer in Ukraine and us here in Russia... I just wonder what the holidays will be like for us this year.

Please pray for me as I adjust to an empty nest!! Tom on the other hand is thrilled that we finally have time alone!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Prayer request

We just recieved an email from our dear friends Lily and Ruslan. Lily had an operation about two years ago to remove a one pound tumor from the area around her thyroid. As this tumor grew it wrapped around her vocal chords and created a great deal of pressure on her heart. In the process of removing the tumor; her vocal chords and nerves were damaged, two years later it is still difficult for her to breathe and speak.

Lily needs another operation so that the damage can be repaired, however, there is no guarantee that she will be able to speak above a whisper in the future.

In October Lily and Ruslan will be traveling to Moscow, Russia from their current home in the country of Uzbekistan to have her second operation. Please pray for them as they travel, the success of the surgery and for their two small children who will be staying with grandparents in Uzbekistan.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thought for Today

“Although parents have a God-given responsibility for bringing up their children, parents cannot bear the total responsibility for how each child turns out. Rather our goal as parents is to help our children become mature, because our children must ultimately decide for themselves the direction they will take in life.
Jean Fleming, from her book A Mother’s Heart

I read these words for the first time back in 1988. Nathan was 1 year old. As a young mom it was a comfort to me to read everything I could get my hands on that would help me to grow and mature as a parent. 20 years later I can see how these words guided us as we parented our sons. We made it our goal to give Nathan and Spencer age appropriate responsibilities and freedoms at each phase of their development. Now that they are 21 and 18 we are excited to watch them as they make their own way in life!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Today Spencer and I went over to DHL to arrange to have his new passport picked up at the American Embassy in Moscow.

We paid 1,688.00 Rubles which is 65.91 USD to have this done. We were told it would be picked up by tomorrow(Wednesday) and delivered here the following day. We spent about 15 minutes getting everything arranged and paid for. It was simple, quick and a lot cheaper than flying to Moscow to pick up the passport in person!!

I emailed our contact at the Embassy to let them know when to expect DHL... I got an answer back right away letting me know that DHL had picked up the passport already and we should expect delivery tomorrow!

Spencer can hardly wait to get his new passport... it has a new photo on it that he likes much better than the one he took 4 1/2 years and 40 pounds ago. He is looking forward to the people at passport control not stopping to giggle and call their colleagues over to see how much he has changed!

Update: His passport arrived !! Spencer is on his way to the DHL office to pick it up!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tom's new job...

We attended a get together for all the employees of the BLTC here in town. Tom was introduced as the staff psychologist! For those of you who may not know Tom does have a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. We knew that Tom was now 'employed' by the BLTC we just didn't know what his 'title' was!

Tom was asked by one of the BLTC volunteers if he was interested in teaching at her college. She is a child psychology major. He is excited about the possibility and will be putting together a brochure of his teaching topics along with a resume to give to the school.

We will let you know when the new website for the BLTC goes up so you can take a look at it... it is still in the developmental stage.

It was great to meet some of the other new people and to hear what everyone is doing... there are some new things to be excited about, MOPS, English classes, Post Abortion support, Abstinence Training in the Public Schools, Alcohol and Drug programs, Church Planting, Trauma and Abuse support... and more!

We will do our best to keep you all updated on what is going on here. Keep us in your prayers as this year gets under way!

Friday, September 12, 2008

weighing in!

another week of staying the same... I am actually relieved. We have had a busier schedule this week and I found myself stress eating. I would rather just stay the same as opposed to gaining!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Just before going to bed last night I told Tom what date it would be... it is hard to believe that 7 years have past since this tragedy.

I remember clearly what I was doing that morning. It was Nathan's first day of highschool and he and I got up early to take him to his classes at the Biola STAR program for homeschoolers. On the way in I heard someone make a reference about the Twin Towers... being a basketball fan I thought they were referencing two very tall basketball players that were often referred to that way.

Sadly, it was not a basketball reference. School was canceled that day after everyone was gathered into the chapel for prayer.

Many of us spent time glued to the TV for news... I still cannot watch the footage of the damaged buildings without tears in my eyes.

Many lives were changed that day and for those that lost a loved one their lives will always bear the scar of 9/11.

Take some time today to pray for those who were affected with a loss, for America herself and for her people.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thought for Today

Only God is inherently holy. He defines holiness, and we become holy by coming into his presence, by avoiding sin, and by becoming more and more like him. As Christians our model of holy behavior is Christ himself. Thus the command to love our spouses and make them holy is the command to encourage them in their spiritual maturity so that they become more and more like Christ.
Dan Allender and Tremper Longman, from their book Intimate Allies

As each of us strives to be more like Christ we also have the opportunity to help those around us become more like Him as well. Think about how you treat those you love… are you modeling and encouraging Christlikeness with your words and behavior?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

following His path...

I took this photo at the Botanical Garden not far from our apartment!

Not long ago we were at the wedding of a young couple... talking with someone we had not seen in a long time. He was asking us about what our plans are when Spencer leaves home. He mentioned that at this point in our marriage we now have room in our lives for the "spiritual" children that God would send our way.

One week later we were invited out by a young Russian couple. We are enjoying getting to know them better. And it is interesting to note that he was born in the same year that Tom and I got married!

We thought we came here just to work with addicts, alcoholics and their families however, just through following His path we are able to do that and more!

Monday, September 08, 2008

What is your favorite flavor of potato chips??

Posted by Picasa

Spencer likes the bacon flavored chips, Tom likes crab flavored and I usually stick with sour cream and onion… but this day I decided to buy salmon flavored chips for Tom and cheese flavored chips for me. We decided to go back to our regular flavors… but at least we gave something new a try!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Like Michaels!

Yesterday Spencer and I took a trip out to the new mall just outside of town. There is a new store there called Leonardo's. It sure reminded me of home. I had fun checking out the yarn and Spencer got his phone out to take my picture!

They have a website you can look at: www.leonardohobby.ru

Tomorrow Tom and I will go back so he can check out their art supplies.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Thought for Today

“Ultimately, we must transcend the categories of liberal and conservative to reclaim the politics of Jesus. We must reject the aspects of each that contradict Jesus’ politics and embrace those things that are in accord with his Gospel. We must embrace conservatism’s willingness to speak its faith and the transformational power of that witness. And we must lay claim to liberalism’s care for the poor and weak and it insistence on equity and justice.

We Christians must not let ourselves be deceived into either exclusive allegiance or exclusive opposition to either party. What must be opposed is valorization of the rich as if they have a natural right to rule. What must be opposed is moral laxity masquerading as liberation. What must be opposed is hunger and violence and exploitation and oppression, and mistreatment of anyone for any reason. We must oppose all these because they fly in the face of the politics of Jesus. To do otherwise is to dishonor his ministry, his mission, and the death he willingly died for our sakes.”

The Politics of Jesus, by Obery M. Hendricks, Jr.

Ever since reading this book on our 30 hour long train ride to Moscow I have been pondering these paragraphs... and they will definitely influence how I plan to vote in the future.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Rootbeer Floats!

Thanks to a garage sale held by an American family who is going back to the states for a while, we were able to discover the joy of rootbeer concentrate!

Our friends Katya and Alexei came over for dinner on Friday and we introduced them to one of my favorite American treats... Rootbeer floats!

You can find the recipe I used by clicking here

Charles gave us this tip: Use the extra strong carbonated water to make your rootbeer.

I know, I know, I know, this is no big deal to those of you who live in a place where you can buy anything and everything at anytime of the day or night. But for those of us living in places that don't have that kind of freedom this is a major deal!

Can you guess wht is going on my Christmas wish list this year?!!

Edited to add:
I just recieved a link from my friend Michele and wanted to include it here on the post for everybody to have:


If anyone ever finds Dr. Pepper flavored concentrate we would love that for Christmas too!!!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Tom’s Dictionary:

A normal night at the Sharp’s house:
When in the course of telling an old Buddy Hackett joke that includes an anvil you get asked “what is an anvil?” and you just happen to have one to show to the guest, if the guest is not surprised that you have the anvil in the first place and/or doesn’t ask why you have the aforementioned anvil…then it was just another night at the Sharp’s house.