Friday, August 29, 2008

weighing in!




So far today is a great day!! I got up and weighed myself and I am down a pound... so I guess giving up ice cream actually works, go figure!

I went to school and had a great lesson; afterwards I went to do some shopping because we have a young Russian couple coming over for pizza.

As I was riding the bus to the supermarket an older lady came and sat down beside me... the man behind her asked her which stop to get off at to go the Ocular Micro-Surgical Center. She starts to answer, turns to me and gives me an "I can't ask her, she doesn't speak Russian" look. So I just let her keep talking because my mama taught me not to interrupt my elders! When she finished her round-about explanation I turned to him and said "it is better if you get off at the next stop and walk across the road at the light". They both look at me wide-eyed... and finally she says to him "what a great young lady...you should have asked her to begin with!" And we all laughed!

We all stood up to get off at the same stop and she turned around and said to me "you look like that beautiful man who is going to be the president in America, have you seen him, his name is Barack Obama?" I thanked her for the compliment and she smiled and went on her way.

It made my day. One of our lessons at school was about Russians not smiling unless there is a weighty reason to do so... to see her walk away smiling was truly a blessing to me. I pray that she has a good feeling about interacting with foreigners and that she will experience kindness from the next one she meets!

As I was walking home from my trip to the market a young man from our church was driving by and he waved me over to his car... he was coming to my house to deliver a painting of Tom's that he had framed. So I got a free ride home from the supermarket and Tom is thrilled to have his painting hanging up in our hallway.

Some days I wonder about what life would be like if we had chosen to purchase a car instead of our apartment... but days like today make me glad that we are seen regularly by our neighbors, church family and friends that we have made in our region. And with how much rent has risen here (and how much our property has appreciated in value) since the announcement of the 2014 Olympics coming to our state, we can see that God had His hand on our decision to purchase the apartment! I was talking with someone about rent and they don't know if they can afford to live in this area anymore... thankfully, we don't have that fear to contend with.


So ... now I can go and get the pizza dough ready... our guests are coming after work so I expect them to come hungry!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

a beautiful young couple!




Timor






Oksana




















Tom and I had the priviledge of attending the wedding of Timor and Oksana.



















I was impressed with the simple elegant beauty of the wedding. Timor's brother Marat performed the ceremony, and their sister Elina sang a song that she wrote while Marat played the guitar... it was a beautiful song and she has an incredible voice!

When Tom and I came home we both had the same impression... they surrounded themselves with married couples and families! As we thought about the guests who were there, we came to realise that very few of the guests were single. We were impressed that they decided to start their marriage off in the company of other couples!

There was a combination of American and Russian traditions... they did not have attendants, the family was escorted in first, walking slowly to soft piano music in the background, Oksana came in alone, she sat on the bench with her side of the family and Timor sat with his side. Marat gave a talk on the value and meaning of a godly marriage. And then he called the couple forward for their vows... after he pronounced them husband and wife Oksana went to sit with Timor and his family. His sister sang and then Marat prayed and blessed the couple. There was no big party with lots of games afterward. There were tables laden with fruit and snacks, and a gorgeous and tasty wedding cake. I made it a point to go and tell the gal who made the cake that it was beautiful and tasted good. Sometimes cakes in the store here look great but taste awful!

During the reception time the couple posed for photos with everyone in attendance and afterward we took a large group shot of everyone. Following that was a walk in the Botanical Garden for more pictures and just hanging out!

Oksana and Timor even chose a very significant date for their ceremony... it was his parents 33rd wedding anniversary! It truly was a celebration of godly and loving marriages. We are going to miss Oksana, she was one of the worship leaders at our church... but we are excited for the new adventure that she and Timor are beginning!!




















This is what I wrote for Timor and Oksana...

Пусть Бог благослови вас…
день за днём
и шаг за шагом,
и в жизни и в браке.

Мы желаем вам радости,
счастья, и много детей!!!

Любите друг друга всем сердцем,
Обрашайтесь друг к другу с уважением,
С горением духа трудитесь для Господа!

от всего нашего сердце,
с любовью,

Том и Алида

in English it says:


May God bless you,
day after day
step by step
in life and in marriage

We wish you joy, happiness
and many children!

Love each other with all your heart
treat one another with respect
serve God together with zeal!

Wholeheartedly,
with love,
Tom and Alida

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thought for Today

Men and women must treat each other as who we are: God’s representatives on earth. If we degrade, abuse or neglect on another, we insult the very glory of God.

from the book Intimate Allies written by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman


This reminds me that all the people that we interact with here in Russia on a daily basis are worthy of respect and kindness... I pray that we will be mindful of this on a daily basis!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

to market, to market!

Strolling through the outdoor market with Tom is always fun. Ever since I have known him he has always been the type of person to greet everyone he sees and he makes friends quite easily. We saw several people whose faces lit up as Tom approached them. He has a friend he knows from AA who sells miscellaneous goods, an acquaintance who sells fruits and vegetables and another who duplicates keys. My favorite person who greeted Tom was the grandmother selling flowers who told him he should buy flowers for his beautiful young wife!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tom's Olympic sermon...











Yesterday Tom spoke at our church. His topic was spiritual resiliency. He used Hebrews 12:1-2 as the basis for his message.

His example of someone who shows resiliency was Dinara Safina. He talked about how she is a great Russian tennis player who sometimes makes mistakes, gets upset, but keeps on going to the end of each match!

From Tom’s vantage point he could see people diligently taking notes… one person had tears in their eyes. Many people came up to him afterwards to say they were encouraged. Tom talked about how we do not receive our prize until we have finished the race. We may want our reward now for all of our hard work. But as seen in Hebrews 11 our heroes of faith did not receive their prizes while they were alive.

The highlight for me was Tom talking about the great cloud of witnesses. He talked about how they are all cheering us on and waiting for us to finish the race so that we can all collect our reward together!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

weighing in!




I only lost a half of a pound... despite all the walking I do each day. Maybe it is time to give up ice cream??

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Alida's dictionary:

True Love:
A husband watching synchronized swimming with his wife!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Thought for Today

“A godly woman engages in the battle of life with as much courage and valor as her husband. But her focus is less on defending against external enemies and more on teaching her family about the high calling of relationship.”

Dan Allender and Tremper Longman, from their book Intimate Allies



It definitely felt like a battle getting the children to show love and respect to one another when they were young. I am grateful for the relationship that Tom and I have. I am grateful for the relationships that Tom and I have with Nathan and Spencer. Furthermore, Tom and I are grateful that our sons have expressed to us their thanks for the unconditional love that we have worked hard to give them!

Whenever I read the word battle my association is not a 'physical' battle but emotional and spiritual ones. Over the past 26 ½ years of our marriage we have battled with various trials of life… such as the stillbirths of Patricia and Cameron, financial setbacks, the challenge of Tom attending seminary with a young family, our transition to life here in Russia and the ups and downs of day to day living (to name just a few!). I was never a good fighter physically... but then I didn't need to be. I grew up with four brothers and I always felt sorry for those who chose to pick on me, I always had a brother nearby who wouldn't have it!

The only way I am gifted to face each of the relational and situational challenges our family of four is presented with is to stay on my knees in prayer.

I give thanks to God for helping Tom and I to continually grow as a couple, as parents of adult children and as spiritual warriors!



Monday, August 18, 2008

Tom's Olympic observations...

Watching the Olympics in our adopted country of Russia is simply…different than if we were in the US. We love Russia & her people…& we still love America. Our feelings are mixed when the two countries compete against each other in the games.

Russia is getting NBC’s feed of the tv coverage, with Russian commentators. At every commercial break, we have a block of basically the same 4 ads. We know the Russian broadcast is paid for by Lukoil (Russia’s Luke Oil Co); Megaphone (a Russian mobile phone company); Sport Kanal (Russia’s Sports Channel) & America’s Nike Co. (“I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier.” While this ditty makes sense if English is your primary language, it doesn’t make sense for non-English speakers…which begs the question ‘who was in charge of Nike’s international marketing plan?’ In a global context, this ad campaign falls short.) If there are a few minutes of air time to fill, we’ll watch these same four ads several times!!

I noticed a cultural difference highlighted in the Russian Megaphone commercial & Nike’s ad. In Nike’s spot, close ups of past & present famous athletes are shown. Even if it’s a team sport, such as basketball, only Kobe Bryant or LeBron James are shown; & always by themselves. In typical Western culture, the message communicated is that ‘the individual is most important.’ Contrast this to the Megaphone ad: several large groups & pairs of people are out in a city’s square. Each person holds up their phone while a computer generated piece of green screen ascends from each phone. All of these little pieces come together, forming a large screen in the sky for all the people to collectively enjoy the sport event shown on the screen. In a typical Russian/European cultural value, the message which is communicated is that ‘together we are better & stronger that we are individually.’

While I believe that the two cultures are simply different, & not wrong, I wonder: which is more Biblical?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

weighing in!



I am down a half pound this week. Slowly but surely I am making progress toward this goal... I hate the slowly part. I like instant gratification!

Happy 21st Birthday!!

Posted by Picasa
















Nathan,
It is so hard to believe that you are 21 already... it seems like we were just blessed by your birth yesterday. We pray that this year is a great year for you and that God blesses each step you take toward your goals for this year!

Here is a birthday video that Spencer made to celebrate your special day!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AR_aqxOLtYI

We are proud of you and we wish we could be with you today!!

Happy Birthday buddy!

We love you bunches and bunches and oodles and oodles,

Mama, Daddy and Spencer

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thought for Today

My thought for today comes from my daily Al-Anon meditation book that I use. And this is my first attempt at publishing my thought in English and in Russian!!


I will not look for perfection in another person until I have attained perfection myself.

Я не буду искать совершентва в других, пока не достигну совершентва сама.

One Day at A time in Al-Anon
День за Днём в Ал-Аноне
Pg 225

Before I got involved in Al-Anon I thought that all of the problems I had in life were because of being raised in family of people that struggled with a life affected by the ravages of alcohol. I have come to realize that my problems began with me and that rising above those problems begins with me as well.

Перед тем как я стала членом Ал-Анона я думала что все мои проблемы начинаются из-за того что я выросла в семье людей которые бороться с жизнью побеспокоившись опустошение алкоголизма. Теперь я сознаю что все мои проблемы начинаются со мной и что выход который я должна выйти является сама в себе.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

6 Quirks I have

OK, so I've been tagged by Shasher and I have to do this before I forget... otherwise I am terrible at these things!

The Rules!
1. Link the person(s) who tagged me
2. Mention the rules on my blog
3. Tell about six unspectacular quirks of mine
4. Tag six fellow blogger's by linking them
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged

OK, now onto important information that I know you can't live without... 6 quirky things about me:

1. I have to stand and face the direction I am speaking of when I give someone directions... this is especially funny when I am on the phone and my husband notices what I am doing!

2. I don't like the sight of bugs whether they are real or just a picture. Tom has a pair of pajamas with ants on them that I can't stand to look at!!

3. I don't like blood... even when it is fake movie blood. My guys all tell me when I can open my eyes again!

4. I hate repetitive noises... it just drives me nuts!

5. I cannot study listening to music but I can study and watch TV!!!

6. If someone hands me money I arrange it by denomination in descending order... I was a bank teller and then a manager long ago!

Those my top six quirks... Tom had more about me to list here but I won't bore you anymore!! And here are the friends I am choosing to bless with this task!!

Cyndi

Michele

Heartsong

Blythe

Liza

Rebecca


Monday, August 11, 2008

Tom at Work

















Tom worked on sheet rocking the sound booth at church a few weeks back... the very next day we were at the Diagnostic Center beginning Tom's treatment that helped him pass his kidney stone. Working in the heat seemed to help get things moving!

Friday, August 08, 2008

weighing in!





I think my scale is broken... it has not moved all week. Oh well, in the past I would have used my disappointment as an excuse to eat chocolate. Today I chose a fresh strawberry juice instead. And am resigned to keep plugging away!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

dinner with friends from Uzbekistan!

Lily set a beautiful table!
















Ruslan preparing the plov!






















Lily getting the meat and garlic ready to add in...
the garlic was cooked whole with the skin on and
she is showing me how it is removed.

















We had a great time with Lily, Ruslan, Artur and Bagdan! They are preparing to move back to Uzbekistan and wanted to have us over before their departure. They will be doing work with people in Recovery.

Lily had asked me about getting her a toe ring when I was in America... she thought that maybe I had forgotten. But I didn't! She was so thrilled to receive it. She let out a loud scream when she open the box. I think most of my friends in California wear one so I don't always think about how unique it is. She put it on and wore it for the rest of the night!

We gave the boys the Dr Seuss book and they loved it... Lily tells me that they have read it many times over the past two days. I knew it would be a hit. When Nathan and Spencer were younger they loved Dr Seuss too!

Ruslan cooked all day to make us authentic Uzbekistan plov (pilaf). He says that there are 18 different varieties of plov! We were very happy to be sent home with the leftovers... Ruslan made plov for the church's Easter dinner and Tom has been a fan ever since!

We have enjoyed working with them and watching them grow and we will miss them a lot when they leave! They both have incredible hearts, are very gracious,are generous in sharing all that they have and all that they have experienced with those around them.

PS... I did not show Lily and Ruslan's faces on purpose. They are going to be working in a dangerous area and they told us that Christians are currently being persecuted there. One of his friends was arrested just for having Christian literature.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Thought for Today

We go to our homes in hopes of finding physically many of the same qualities God offers us spiritually—a restful place, safe from the storms and stresses of the world, filled with love, comfort, and absolute acceptance… Home is to be the refuge we run to after doing battle in the world. It should be where we are reminded of who we are, to whom we belong, and what really matters in life.

Terry Willits, from her book Creating a SenseSational Home



I was thinking about how we as a family use our home... when we lived in America there were times when our home was just a "pit stop" a place to sleep, eat and use the facilities. Here in Russia we have made our home more of a restful place. A safe place for us to come after the stresses of the day. A place where we are all accepted for who we are and not stared at or watched as we go about our business. I pray that our home will always be a safe place to run to... no matter where in the world it is located!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Solzhenitsyn lies in state in Moscow















Russians queue up to mourn dissident Solzhenitsyn

By James Kilner and Conor Sweeney

Russia paid tribute to former Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn on Tuesday with all the hallmarks of an official lying-in-state.

While Muscovites lined up to honor the Nobel Laureate, four Russian soldiers in dress uniform stood at attention at the open coffin in the Russian Academy of Sciences -- a telling symbol of recognition for the former exile.

A large portrait of Solzhenitsyn and a Russian flag completed the backdrop.
After tributes from world leaders following Solzhenitsyn's death from heart failure at 89 on Sunday, Russians paid respects to the survivor of Stalin's Gulag prison camps who documented their tyranny and challenged Soviet rule at home and in exile.

Solzhenitsyn's widow Natalia and his sons looked on as people, many of them elderly, brought small bouquets of white or red flowers to lay before his coffin.

In keeping with Russian tradition, mourners brought an even number of flowers, usually two or four.

"Solzhenitsyn was one of the most important people in the history of Russia, he wrote exactly what he thought and needed to be remembered," said maths professor Alexander Romanov, 60.

"It's a shame that not all young people understand how important he is. The young people of Russia today understand less and less," he said.

Solzhenitsyn came to international attention after the publication in 1962 of "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich," which chronicled the appalling life of a labor camp prisoner.

He went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970 and later produced his most famous work, "Gulag Archipelago," a chronicle of his own and thousands of other prison camp experiences.

GREAT DEFERENCE
Solzhenitsyn was stripped of his citizenship in 1974. He moved to the United States, where he lived until after the fall of the Soviet Union. He spent his final years living quietly in a Moscow suburb.

Solzhenitsyn was treated with great deference by subsequent Russian leaders, including current Russian prime minister and former president Vladimir Putin, though he became increasingly critical of corruption in modern Russia.

"The young know he wrote important books about the camps and that he received the Nobel prize, but that's all we really know. he's more important for the older generations," said football trainer Alexander Selemenev, 27, on his way to work.

He said he respected Solzhenitsyn because he wasn't afraid to tell the truth. "But recently in politics, for Russia, it's not clear what he has done," he said.

Russia's main television channels ran lengthy reports on their evening news programs and unscheduled documentaries on Solzhenitsyn's life.

But not all media reports remembered Solzhenitsyn kindly. The Communist party newspaper Pravda called him a radical critic who produced one-sided accounts of Stalin's rule.

"He became one of the main battering rams in destroying both the state and nation ... that is why he is being applauded so rapturously by both Russian President Medvedev and U.S. President Bush!" it wrote in a commentary on Tuesday.

A funeral service will take place on Wednesday at the medieval Donskoi monastery, where Solzhenitsyn will be buried.

(Reporting by James Kilner, writing by Conor Sweeney; editing by Robert Hart)

Monday, August 04, 2008

how long has it been?

We have been using the same water company for the three years that we have lived here. I have been talking to the same girl for most of the that time when I place an order. Last Friday I called to place an order and this is what happened:

Me: I would like to order water
Her: ok, you live on ------
Me: yes, apartment number----
Her: Why haven't you ordered in the last three weeks?
Me: we were in America
Her: oh, a little vacation, huh? Did you get some rest?
Me: yes, thank you we enjoyed our time there!
Her: wonderful! As usual your order will be delivered before lunch tomorrow... that is two bottles right?
Me: yes, thank you!


Tom and I believe that we must be the only foreigners on their route. She knows me by voice! For those of you thinking that she is using a computer for all her information guess again... if someone else happens to answer the phone, they have to ask for all of our info. This gal is truly on the ball and has mastered the art of customer service!

Friday, August 01, 2008

weighing in!




Finally movement in the right direction!! I am down two pounds... walking and sweating in the hot Krasnodar sun is truly the best diet around :-)