Wednesday, September 30, 2009

thought for today

Curiosity is one thing; wisdom is another. Maybe neither can fully cover the territory. Maybe one is meant to drive us, the other meant to beckon us.

Sidney Poitier, from his book The Measure of a Man

The youthful exuberance of curiosity partnered with a wisdom that can only come from experience guides me out of my comfort zone to take on a new project or learn a new skill. As I learn what I am and am not capable of I grow as a person. My desire is to always possess a healthy dose of human curiosity balanced out by heavenly wisdom.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

12th Birthday of Church of the Open Door

Timofey made plov (pilaf) for the celebration

The children sang and danced for us!

And they recited poetry... some of them looked to their parents for help!
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Monday, September 28, 2009

substitute teaching...

For the next two weeks I will be homeschooling a sweet little 5 year old girl while her mom is on a trip to America. Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy...

The first one is Mila featuring her beautiful red hair and the letter of the day which was 'h' and the second one of course is me!

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Russian + English= Rusglish

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I saw this graffiti today as I was on my way to my Russian lesson.

'Vance' (the object of this person's love) is written in Russian in accusative case. And that is all for today's Rusglish lesson!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tom's interview with HTK tv

Wednesday I was interviewed by Russian tv correspondant Marina from HTK. Marina is a 20-something who spent a month in California & Ohio, & is fascinated with all things American. When she heard from a mutual friend that friendly Americans were in Krasnodar teaching topics to help Russians grow emotionally & spiritually, she decided to check us out.

The focus of her interview had to do with stereotypes of people - where the stereotypes come from & do they help or hinder communication & multi-national understanding? Some of the old US stereotypes of Russia are that, ‘all of Russia is covered with snow, there are live bears that walk the streets, the KGB follows you everywhere & every Russian drinks lots of vodka.’ She asked me the stereotypical question, ‘why do all Americans smile so much?’ I replied, ‘many Americans smile because of the freedoms we have in life.’ Unfortunately, I don’t know that I provided her with any controversial or newsworthy quotes, as I love the Russian people & very much enjoy living here. I want to keep it that way!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

thought for today

I believe that every person is born with talent.
Maya Angelou

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Today in Russian News

Moscow youths jailed for up to 10 years for race-hate attacks


MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow court on Tuesday sentenced a group of ultranationalist youths to prison terms ranging from five to 10 years for attempted race-hate murders.

One of the 11 defendants was acquitted, while three received suspended sentences. The youths made four attempts to kill nationals of China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in Moscow between February 1 and March 7, 2008, prosecutors said.

Gang leaders Yevgeniya Zhikharyova and Ilya Shutko received 8 and 9.5 years respectively.

Zhikharyova is also suspected of involvement in a series of explosions in Moscow in 2008-2009, including at a McDonald's restaurant, a railway line and a church.

Russia has seen a wave of racially motivated crime since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Attacks by gangs of youths on foreigners and people with non-Slavic features are a routine occurrence in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Voronezh, which hosts many foreign university students.

Last December, the Moscow City Court sentenced seven young men, convicted of 20 race-hate murders and 12 other attacks, to between 6 to 20 years in prison.

The gang killed their victims and assaulted 12 others in a series of attacks between August 2006 and October 2007 targeting foreigners and non-Slavic migrants. The suspects reportedly filmed some of the attacks and posted them on the Internet.

Friday, September 18, 2009

English graffiti

Each time I see graffiti written on the walls here in English I cringe. Most of the time it is either an obscenity or it is written incorrectly.
Today I saw the words: Eater Death Crew

I wanted to correct it to say: Death Eater Crew

Maybe I need to carry a spray can or a Sharpie in my purse so I can make corrections on the run!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Americans playing basketball in Russia...

Tom is a major basketball fan and it is exciting to turn on the TV here in Russia and see Americans on the basketball teams!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thought for today

Correction does much, but encouragement does more.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Two Americanos...

On Sunday after church Tom and I decided that we should stop by the supermarket and get groceries before going home. Tabris just started selling fresh baked pizzas and we both liked the idea of not having to cook after our busy weekend.

We ordered two pizzas called Americanos and the guy turns around and yells out the order. I said "yes, here we stand, two Americans!" a few of the workers in the back got the joke. The guy who took out order was so serious and focused on his work that he missed it. Twenty minutes later, when we came back to pick up the pizzas after completing our shopping the guy who sliced and boxed them greeted us with "two Americans!" and a big smile!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Saturday Teaching Sessions

A new year of teaching just started this weekend. We had 20 people there for our opening session. I asked Tom to write out some of the highlights from his teaching time on Saturday, enjoy!

This month our theme is "Making Marriage Better." Hopefully some of the participants took home any of the following main points from Saturday's teaching about expectations:

1. Potential partners & partners need to talk about: methods of resolving conflict; finances; religious beliefs; raising kids; sex expectations; relating to extended family; roles; work; etc. The point is to start talking! The more we discuss what we each need, the more realistic our expectations will be.

2. The more unrealistic & unexpressed expectations we have, the more difficulties we'll have in marriage.

3. Our level of disappointment in life is proportionate to our level of expectations.

4. Each person is responsible for making their needs & wants known. We can't hold our partner responsible for not meeting our needs if we don't express our needs.

5. 'Mind reading' is not proof of love in marriage. It's an unrealistic expectation tied to a 'rescue fantasy.' This is usually connected with unmet emotional needs from our family of origin.

6. Rather than trying to change my partner, I need to focus on becoming the best partner I can be.

7. Even some realistic expectations sometimes will need to be let go of & grieved.

8. God is with us as we deal with our hurt, disappointment, grieving & adjusting our expectations.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Russia Remembers 9/11

Russia Mourns 9/11 attack victims
A memorial service to commemorate the victims of the 9/11 attacks on the US has been held at the Church of St. Catherine the Great Martyr in Moscow.

The US Ambassador to Russia, John Beyrle, gave an emotional speech. He said people, for the sake of their children, should join forces to build a world in which terrorists would not be able to justify their actions or to find refuge.

"The United States remembers how after those attacks, people were bringing flowers, icons and toys to its embassies all over the world, including in Moscow," Beyrle said.

People in all countries denounced the September 11 attacks, as well as the Beslan and Nord Ost tragedies, he added.

"This fight against terrorism involves those who believe in tolerance and love and those who are on the side of hatred and fear," the American ambassador said.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, speaking at the sixth session of the Valdai Discussion Club, said Russia mourns the victims of September 11 attacks, “just as we did back in 2001.”

“Like no other country, Russia knows what a terrorist act is like. On September 3, we too commemorated those killed in terror attacks in Russia,” he said.

“It’s yet another reminder that we have to put aside any differences and join forces in the face of common challenges,” Putin added.

The Valdai Club is a gathering of the world’s leading experts on Russia.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

monuments along the way...

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Here is another photo from our time in Anapa last week. We didn't see many people wearing cowboy hats until we came across this guy stretched out in the sand!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Thought for today

An excerpt from The Mammoth Cheese, by Sheri Holman

'I don't want you to take Polly to the movies,' Margaret said. 'Every time you go, it's a week before I can deprogram her.'

'What happened to you?' Francis asked, finally fed up. 'You used to be fun. Now you won't even let your daughter enjoy a movie.'

'I don't want my daughter growing up polluted, that's what's happened to me,' said Margaret vehemently. 'I don't want her to have an attention span of a music video. I don't want her to give it up to the first boy who kisses her because that's what she sees on TV. I don't want her weighing 400 pounds because it's easier to take her to the McDonald's drive-through than to fix her a healthy dinner. Everyone is out to get her, the whole world is out to get a little piece of my daughter, and I want to protect her for as long as I am able. And I don't like you undermining me.'

A Mother's Love
As I walking down the aisle of Von's supermarket with Nathan in the front of the grocery cart playing with his favorite plastic dinosaur and Spencer in the infant seat attached to the cart, I looked up and saw a wizened older lady slowly gazing at each one of the boys and me. She smiled and said 'cherish this age, this is the only time you can control what they do and where they go'. I politely smiled back and responded with a begrudging 'Thank you, I'll try!'

I remember thinking that she had obviously forgotten how hard it is to be the mother of preschoolers.

Now that my sons are 22 and 19 I can think back on those years more fondly. With Nathan in America, Spencer in Armenia, and Tom and I here in Russia it is not hard to realize that I am powerless to control or protect their environment anymore. They have to face heartaches and trials without me being there to ward off the offender or to kiss it and make it better.

My advice to moms with young kids would be the same as my advisor's from the supermarket... cherish your kids where they are right now. Later, it really will seem like you have blinked your eyes and they are grown and gone.

boats, boats, boats

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The little row boat is for the lifeguard!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Fun in Anapa

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Tom and I were met by these guys from Nigeria as soon as we walked to the beach. The guy on the right is an anesthesiologist who cannot get work in Russia. He is in the process of applying for an American visa so he can finally put his education to use.

We saw several groups of African students posing for photos or braiding hair to raise money for the coming school year. Their determination is inspiring!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

just relaxin!

We are here in Anapa having a great time, eating lots of food and taking in all the sights... pictures will have to wait until we get back home!!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

thought for today

Excerpt from Angels and Demons, Dan Brown

At forty-three, her bushy black curls were streaked with gray. She was too proud for dye. Her mom, a Southern Baptist, had taught Chinita contentedness and self-respect. When you’re a black woman, her mother said, ain’t no hiding what you are. Day you try, is the day you die. Stand tall, smile bright, and let ‘em wonder what secret’s making you laugh.

Stand Tall, Smile Bright

No matter what you look like, no matter what you believe that others are thinking of you, try standing tall, smiling bright and just see how many people are attracted to you. In Recovery circles there is a slogan about attraction not promotion. People can be drawn into a life of healing when they see someone who has what ‘they want’. Now go out there and make them all wonder what or Who your secret is that is giving you so much joy!