Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!!  We are enjoying our time here in Kiev and will be back in Krasnodar next week.  No matter where you and your family are traveling to be safe and have a great time with one another!  

Note to Nathan: we wish you were here with us... we will eat stuffing and think of you, buddy! We love you, miss you and pray for you each day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thought for Today

Looking out the window on the other side of our church I noticed this outdoor shower. I am grateful that no one was in it at the time!!

What conveniences do you take for granted... is your water always piping hot in your shower? Is is always clear? There are times here when we don't have water, times when there is only cold and of course times when they turn the water back on and it is a lovely shade of muck! I am grateful that our shower is modern and comfortable and indoors!

Remember to be thankful for all of the blessings in your life... large and small, hot or cold, indoors or out!!

We should be safely in Kiev today!! Thank you for your prayers!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wild Mushrooms

Tom got a call from a friend of his asking if we wanted to eat mushrooms for dinner! Sasha went out and gathered them for us and brought them over and told me how to cook them.  Wild mushrooms must be cooked right away so I cleaned them up, cooked them according to his directions and we ate them that night.  Tom, is our mushroom fan, and he loved them!

***Today we are packing and getting ready for our short trip to Kiev.  I am taking my cookbooks with me because I am certain that I will be cooking a meal or two for Spencer and his 6 roommates while we are there!

Please pray that we have a safe trip to and from Kiev and that we are able to purchase tickets to get us back here.  I was able to purchase our tickets to get us there but we have to buy the return tickets in Kiev!  

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sights from Sunday

This lovely young lady and her dad treated us to special music during the service. If you like the song "Rise and Shine" (also known as the Arky, Arky song) then you would have loved hearing it sung in Russian accompanied on the accordian!  

Thursday, November 20, 2008

MOPS Memories

A few of the photos from today...

Our new logo!



Leah teaching...

the eys of innocence

a mom whose oldest just left home sitting with a mom who is pregnant with her second!

the children preparing to go upstairs to their classroom

Lena reading from a pregnancy journal written like a letter from the growing baby...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

thought for today

These are the old coffee cups for the church:

These are the new ones we purchased for MOPS!

I am excited about the new cups, and all the details that we have tried to cover for each of young moms who have been invited.  We chose the cups to match the paint in the room we will be meeting in and we pray that as the women drink their tea or coffee they will sense how much they are loved, how important we feel that they are in the lives of their children and their valuable role in the community we live in.

We even have new little stools for the kids to sit on in the childcare room!

Take time today to be thankful for the things in your life or in your home that make you feel special.  And please pray for the moms and children who will be attending the first MOPS meeting in all of Krasnodar Krai!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

MOPS logo in Russian

I started by finding this one on the web...

I updated it to look like this!!

I will be printing out business cards for the ladies to use to invite their friends and we will use these for our names tags as well... I still need to show it to our coordinator and print everything before our meeting on Thursday. Even as I look at it now I see things I want to change so I imagine I will be working on this for a little while longer!

This week is filled with shopping, finalizing plans, and setting up the rooms.  We are expecting guests from various churches throughout the city and you know what it is like when you are preparing for a guests to visit you at home... this is like that, kinda!

edited to add the new one:

I will show it off tomorrow and then let you know which one is the keeper!

Monday, November 17, 2008

taking out the trash

I remember years ago back in Kansas when my grandparents burned trash in their back yard. Peeking through a hole in the fence of a nearby construction site I saw this guy burning old lumber and trash.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

MOPS is coming to Krasnodar!

Yesterday I was at the church helping to clean up the downstairs room in preparation for our MOPS meeting next week. It took three of us 3 hours to remove everything from the cabinets, sort through what was there, deciding what we needed to keep and what could be thrown out.  

We even took the time to test each marker to see if it was worth keeping or not... don't you love doing that at your house?  Along the way we found old photos of church members, memorabilia from years past and old Sunday school projects from kids who are grown and gone!

We went from this:

to this!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thought for today…

What can you see when you look out of the windows of your church??

We can see clothes hanging on the line in a garden, new construction, and even catch a glimpse of some chickens!  The clothes hanging out on the line remind me of my childhood.  Spending summers at Grandma’s, or Big Mama’s as she is affectionately called now, I learned how to hang clothes out on a clothesline.  She only used the dryer in the summer time for towels.  Everything else was hung out on in the hot Kansas sun to dry.  

 Here in Russia I don’t own a dryer.  There have been days when I wished I did, especially for the towels.  However, each time I hang my clothes on the drying rack on our balcony I feel connected to my past.  I remember my Aunt Lisa helping me hang the sheets...she taught me how to correctly place the clothespins so that we didn't use them all up too soon! 

(She is only four years older than me…please don’t tell I her I called her Aunt Lisa or she will sock me!)


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

noticing the haves and the have nots

Yesterday I left the house for a bit because Tom had someone over who needed his help.  I chose to sneak off to the Mega Mall in New Adigea a city not far from here.  I had fun walking around the mall, seeing all of the new technology, and looking at the overwhelming amount of products for sale in the fancy new supermarket. 

After getting off of the free shuttle bus that took me half way home from the new mall I walked over to the other side of the street to catch a bus that would take me back to our apartment.  This bus stop is located near a large outdoor market.  As I was walking I heard a woman calling out for people to buy her crawdads that she had for sale, saw people lined up on the street to sell their various wares, and noticed a little old lady sitting at the bus stop with a towel spread out beside her selling empty 5 liter water bottles.  

The disparity between the two sights is not unique to Russia.  We saw this in California as well.  However, what struck me was that in both places, the new mall and the outdoor market, there were eager customers.  I rode on the shuttle bus with many people who had large bags filled with things they had purchased at the mall.  I also witnessed both the woman selling her crawdads and the woman selling the empty water bottles make sales.   

One of the things that Russian President Medvedev promised to address in his State of the Union speech last week is the living situations of people here… it will be interesting to see what changes take place over this next year.  And if there will still be a need for a pensioner to sit at the bus stop with a towel spread across the bench selling her empty water bottles so that she herself can survive.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Russia's Got Talent

There is a reality show in America called America's Got Talent  Here in Russia the same program is called Minute of Glory  (you can click on those titles and it will take you to those websites)

Tom and I enjoy watching reality tv, especially the talent oriented versions.  Yesterday we enjoyed two of the acts quite a bit.  There was a 8 year old who did acrobatics and there was a man who did a balancing act.  We didn't like the people who balanced metal objects on their bodies or the group of jump ropers dressed in African costumes.  We were both impressed with the courage of the 67 year old ballerina... she was in great shape, looked beautiful and was very flexible!!  

You can click on each of the descriptions of acts and find a video clips that showing that act.  Hopefully, all the video clips will work and you can get a taste of the show as well!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Shopping on Krasnaya

The sign with green letters is for a Bank.

The sign with red letters is for a Beer Bar.

The yellow sign is a for a Christian book store.

So if you are wondering which one I chose... I will give you a hint.  I don't like the taste of beer and that particular bank is not mine!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Somebody pinch me!!

I grew up during a time when there were not many African Americans in the public eye. Especially not on TV. This morning, here in Russia, I woke up to see Barack Obama on every channel that was showing the news.  This is simply unreal!

We have had phone calls today from Russian friends who are hopeful that "perestroika"(rebuilding) will happen in America, others who are hoping that relations between Russia and America will improve and others who were excited to see that America truly is a democracy by choosing to elect a "dark" skinned president!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

On Mondays Tom helps out with an English class at the BLTC. He always comes home with fun stories about questions that the students ask him since he is the native English speaker.

There is one student in the class who does not talk much. However, yesterday Tom needed to fax in our votes for the election in America. So of course the topic for the day became politics!! The gal who does not talk much helped get the fax machine up and running. She began asking Tom lots of questions about the Electoral College, the voting process, party affiliations and so on. She landed with the right person to ask because Tom is not Red or Blue… he is one of those highly coveted Independent voters!!

We received our Ballots here in the mail back in September. Tom took in the entire contents of the envelope and that became an item for show and tell. The students were interested in every little detail. How the ballot looked, how his Russian Address was spelled with English letters, the number of parties on the ballot and the instruction booklet that came in the packet.

Here are a few family voting facts:
This is our first presidential election with us not living in America.
This is the second time in almost 27 years of marriage that we voted the same way.
This is the first time that both of our children are old enough to vote.

Tom and I are thrilled that we had the chance to participate in the election from thousands of miles away. Like many other Americans living abroad we are grateful for our American citizenship and the rights that come along with it!

Here is an excerpt from my friend Cyndi’s blog that I wanted to share:

Unfortunately battle lines are being drawn in the church. You can see it in the news, on blogs and even in the pulpit. God is calling us to be humble, we need to be careful about defining our own opinions. There is nothing wrong with being passionate. Passionate people thirst for God, hunger for truth. No political system can ever be perfect. So how do we find common ground? 1) We must move to higher ground, 2) keep our face to the ground, and 3) find the middle ground. Jesus Christ is our common ground. We must have humility and believe in God. Christians will be going to the polls on Tuesday and pulling different levers. When we wake up on Wednesday morning people will still need to be saved. At the end of the day take off the donkey and the elephant and put on the cross. Put your faith in Christ! On November 5th there is no us or them. Your brother and sister in Christ is never your enemy. Jesus can heal our land. Let the will of God be done.”

Monday, November 03, 2008


Tom and I took a walk in the Botanical Gardens not far from our apartment. We enjoy people watching and yesterday we not only saw people but a few peacocks as well!! I don't know if this is a new addition to the Gardens... but it was certainly exciting.

Hearing kids gleefully whoop and holler is a treat for us. Seeing the peacocks up close and personal was awesome too!!