Friday, July 31, 2009

this just in...

Spencer and his team have left Georgia and are now in Armenia! Keep them in your prayers. They had some frustrations in Georgia with people not seeing the need for counseling.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thought for today

Remember, if you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns!

~Allison Gappa Bottke

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ask and you will receive

Typically in Russian culture people are indirect. Tom has been teaching his counseling clients to make their needs known. Today one of them sent a text message announcing that today is their birthday. The last three words were a simple request... Bless me, please!.

I sent back the blessing from me and Tom. And this person wrote back thrilled. It was exactly what they needed to hear!

So remember, just ask and otherwise you cannot get your need met!

Monday, July 27, 2009

path in the park

Not far from our house is a botanical garden... this particular path has bricks painted the colors of the Russian flag.

Friday, July 24, 2009

What would you do?

Tom just gave food to a woman begging door to door. At the end of the day, he'd rather be accused of being too loving than being too judgmental.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

thought for today

As a child my family's menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it. ~Buddy Hackett

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hot water update...

We finally have hot water again... this year it was off for 3 weeks. In the past it has only been around ten days or so.

oh well, such is life! I am off to take a hot shower!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tea in my soup bowl…

Each Sunday morning before attending worship team practice I take the time to warm up my voice. Oftentimes I begin that process by drinking tea. I can get two delicious cups of tea from one teabag. However, to do so I have to find my bookmark, set down my songbook, get up off of the couch and walk into the kitchen to make the much needed second cup.

Elegantly poised on the top shelf of my kitchen cabinet I found the cute little bowls with handles that I normally reserve for soup. Deciding that I would like get through my warm-up time without needing to trek off to the kitchen for a second cup of tea I chose to use the soup bowl.

I was glad that no one was watching me. I felt a little silly drinking tea out of a soup bowl. But why? Martha Stewart does not live here. She isn’t even coming over for a visit anytime soon. Come to think if it, if she likes tea as much as I do… I would suggest that she relax in her favorite reading chair, with a great book while cherishing a few simple moments of quiet by drinking tea from her soup bowl as well!

Friday, July 17, 2009

T-shirt wisdom

I love reading t-shirts for some reason. Not sure why. Today's sighting:

It's all good
In the hood!

It made me think of the character that Eddie Murphy used to do on Saturday Night Live years ago in his skits called Mr Robinson's neighborhood!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Whole Wheat Flour in Krasnodar!!

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This may not be a big deal to you... but we have lived here for 4 years and this is the first time I have seen the type of whole wheat flour that we are used to in the states. What we would call white flour is labeled wheat flour here. At the beginning I purchased bag after bag hoping to find wheat... it was wheat just not whole wheat!!

For those of you here in Krasnodar I found this at Tabris for 55 rubles!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thought for today

I always read the last page of a book first so that if I die before I finish I'll know how it turned out.
Nora Ephron

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Art appreciation

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Since we walk or take public transport in Krasnodar, it’s always an adventure simply going thru the open-air market. We never know what we will encounter! 

Today I met a local artist - an older man from the local village of Elizabeth. He had canvases stacked on an up-side down cardboard box, while 2 framed pictures proudly leaned against the wall of a small store. As he showed me his artwork, he began to share stories. “This is where my parents lived.” he said as he displayed a small landscape. “Here is the dacha (summer home) our family went to every summer.” All of his paintings were landscapes, except for the picture of a young couple. I noticed he had painted on dish-towels, bed linens, burlap sacks & other pieces of fabric, utilizing whatever he had at hand. He’s not the best Russian artist we have seen, but I enjoyed the cultural significance of the artwork of the young couple. 

For $15, I met a local artist, was invited to his house to be shown his favorite paintings, & came home with a reminder of the resourcefulness of the Russian people & their culture that will hang in our home.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Pancho cake



Eera showing me the cake!

Yanna and Tom being silly!

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Tom and I were invited to Olya's birthday celebration yesterday. She served this awesome birthday cake called "pancho" that is one of the tastiest cakes we have had here in Russia. It had sour cream and cocoa inside. I could not find the exact recipe but I think this one comes close:

- "Zebra" Cake recipe -

Cuisine: Ukrainian, Russian, Yield: 8 Servings
· Ingredients
4 ea eggs
2 c flour
2 c sugar
300 g yoghurt
2 ts baking powder
2 tb cacao
1 c sour cream
1 c sugar

· Method
You'll need two separate mixing bowls
In each:
Mix 2 eggs + 1cup of sugar + 150g of yoghurt + 1 ts of baking
powder + 1cup of flour. Add 2 tb of cacao into one of the bowls.
Stir the batter thoroughly. Pour a tablespoonful of white batter
into the centre of a frying pan (or any vessel you use for baking
cakes). Then goes brown, white, brown till the bowls are empty.
Bake the cake till done.
Cream: whip 1 cup of sour cream with 1 cup of sugar. Put it to a
fridge. Cut the cake into three horizontal parts and spread
the cream over each of them. Use your
fantasy and combine various creams, jams.
When you cut the cake you'll see that slices will have zebra
stripes on sides.
Recipe source: Luba Vasilenko,Kyiv-Ukraine, circa 1999
Posted by Yuri Timohin

Friday, July 10, 2009

Reality check

For the most part I am a very optimistic and easy going person.  I look for the beauty everywhere I go.  I look for the similarities between me and the person in front of me.  I always assume the best about the other person and look for the lesson in each situation I face. 

These past few weeks have been very busy for us with counseling.  Tom is the psychologist and I am his translator.  It has been eye opening to become a part of Tom's professional life.  We had not worked together since our days at Dad's video store back in Kansas.  

I have a great deal of respect for what Tom does.  I used to envy him going off into the workforce each day and being with people while I was busy at home with little ones.  Now, I see the reality.  He was not off having fun at work.  Well, not all day anyway!

Some appointments are rewarding and seeing the progress that individuals, families, and couples experience brings joy to my heart.  But, carrying their burdens around with me is difficult.

We don't talk about it much because of needing to keep the confidence of those we work with.    But just know that we work with everyone, those who can pay and those who cannot.  Those who are influential church leaders and those who are doubting God's existence.  

Emotional, spiritual and relational pain has no prejudice, it falls like rain upon us all.  However, some are more resilient than others in how they handle it.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers... and know that while I may post about food, train rides or silly things that happen in our daily lives, we are hard at work and the load is not always easy.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Salmon Burgers!

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For dinner last night I thought it would be fun to try something new. I found a simple recipe at for Salmon burgers, and used what I had in the fridge to create a salad to go with it!

Apple, Cabbage and Pine Nut Salad
1 med size granny smith apple
1/2 cup red cabbage
1 small head of chinese cabbage
2 TBS pinenuts
Ranch dressing to taste

Dice apple and cabbages and place in mixing bowl. Add pine nuts. Coat with Ranch dressing and enjoy! 

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

thought for today


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Tom went to the dentist today... I went along to translate for him.  He is doing well now just resting.  He had to get one tooth filled.  His dentist was impressed that he had gone twelve years without seeing a dentist.  She said that if all of her patients mouths looked that good without seeing her, she would be out of work!!  

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A taste from childhood

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One of my favorite activities during my preteen years was going to Skateland North with my brother John. After he DJ'd at the skating rink we would go to Church's or Popeye's (along with hundreds of other hungry skaters) to eat and we always ordered strawberry soda to go with our meal.

I found strawberry juice in the supermarket today. Along with that I purchased some carbonated water. Add ice, mix the two liquids to your desired level of sweetness and you have Strawberry soda!

Monday, July 06, 2009

the joys of summer

Fresh fruit is delightful part of summers here in Krasnodar. Tom found these great peaches at the outdoor market and to my dismay the photo does not transmit to you the joy of tasting how sweet they are!! We have been enjoying them in fruit salads, served with granola and yogurt for breakfast, using them in smoothies,  or just eating them plain!!

What are you doing with your fresh fruit?!

Friday, July 03, 2009

The joys of unlimited internet

One of the benefits of having unlimited internet access now is being able to actually watch the news and not just read it!!  

Here is a link to one of the sources we are enjoying right now... a Russian news program in English:  Russia Today

Thursday, July 02, 2009


Not long ago our friends Lena and Alexei celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary.  Theirs was the first Russian wedding we attended.  It was our first time in Russia as a family.  We came for a month to determine if we could handle living here or not.  Five years later here we are enjoying the life and work that we have here.

 This past Sunday I was asked to take photographs for a young couple getting married in August... I can hardly wait!!