Friday, May 28, 2010

keep, trash, sell or give away

We finished another week of packing, saying goodbyes and retelling our story about how difficult it was to get this current visa. Tom was able to buy our plane tickets this week so now we know that our time here in Krasnodar ends on the 28th of June.

Just as we have been deciding what to keep, trash, sell or give away of our belongings we are also processing what we have learned here, what we will miss and what we will be glad to leave behind. In the midst of all of the change we are going through I, for one, am grateful for the things in our life that won't change.  

We know that our faith, the prayers of the faithful and our ties to one another have given us the strength to endure all that we have lived through and will carry us through this life no matter where in the world we live.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

thought for today

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

you know it's spring in Russia...

 when you hear kids playing on top of the metal garages!!  No mistaking that sound!

Monday, May 24, 2010

packing supplies

Tom went out looking for bubble wrap... there was none to be found.  However, he did receive an interesting piece of advice.  He was told to buy a TV because they come wrapped in bubble wrap!

Friday, May 21, 2010

How do you say rain?!

The Moscow Times
Let It Rain

Let It Rain

Undoubtedly you have heard that Eskimos have 50 words for snow, though it isn't true. Russian, however, does have at least 12 words for rain. Our language columnist explains.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

packing up our paintings

Tom and I love to get at least one piece of art work each time we travel to a new country. We have ended up with a small collection of pieces from Cyprus, Ukraine, Italy, Turkey and Russia. Tom also painted a few things that we want to ship to America. To be able to take all of these items with us we have to photograph each piece, write a description, tell the value and where it was purchased. Then the photos have to be taken to the city historian to verify that they are not Russian artifacts so that they can legally be taken out of the country. Once he certifies them they have to be taken to at least two more offices for approval.

Tom has the photos done and will go to see the city historian next week. Hopefully this process will be uneventful!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

thought for today

I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, May 17, 2010

all good things must come to an end

For the past five years we have lived happily here in Krasnodar, Russia. We would still love to live here but it is clear to us that it is time to move on.

During this last round of visa troubles while we were sitting in Turkey waiting, Tom was asked to run a rehab center in Belmopan, Belize.

We only have until July 1st on our visa so we have a lot to get done in just 6 weeks time. It is amazing to us how God has worked out all of the details to make this move. All of our big things already have a buyer including our apartment. This is further reassurance to us of God's hand not just in our life but in the lives of our friends as well. Those who needed a fridge are getting one, those who needed a larger place to live are getting one and so on. Blessings are being felt all around and we are so grateful to be a part of the process!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

here comes the bride!

We were so thrilled to share is this special day... this was one of the reasons we needed to get back here to Russia. It was an incredible day and we are honored that we were able to take part in it!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

back in Krasnodar!

We are so happy to be back in our own apartment with our own stuff.  Home is where your stuff is and we definitely feel at home here.

On the one hand things seemed different here but on the other hand so much was the same.  Getting through passport control took two hours this time.  They seemed to be rationing out the immigration forms and would only bring out a few at a time.  A few of the passport control workers decided it was their break time and left their stations while many of us were still waiting for forms. 

Life here in this part of the world is never dull and we wouldn't want it to be!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

thought for today

If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it.  ~Toni Morrison

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Galata Tower

Spencer and I had time for one more tourist spot and we chose the Galata Tower also known as Christ's Tower or Lighthouse Tower you can read about it here:

After the elevator takes you as far as it can go then you have to take the stairs!

The views from the top are to live for!! 

We leave tonight for Russia and should arrive very early tomorrow morning.  Our time here has had its ups and downs but we are truly grateful to have had this experience. Thanks to all for prayed for us!

Monday, May 10, 2010

At last we have visas!

We finally have our visas and will be leaving Istanbul tomorrow!! This has been an unforgettable experience and I am grateful for how it has impacted my life.

Over the past two months of our wait I began the practice of counting the endless gifts that God has blessed our lives with and my list and thoughts are kept here:

You can also join in the community

holy experience

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Visa update

Our visas are now on their way to us!  The FedEx tracker is saying they should be here by Friday at 8pm.  Finally, there is  a light at the end of this tunnel and it is not an oncoming train!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Thought for today

There should always be more waiting than striving in a Christian's prayer.

Evelyn Underhill

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Krispy Kreme in Istanbul

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If you are looking for a Krispy Kreme doughnut this is the mall to go to.  Yep, Subway sandwiches for dinner and doughnuts for dessert.  Worked for me!

Monday, May 03, 2010

New Mosque

Spencer and I visited Yeni Cami or New Mosque today. It was started in 1597 by Safiye, the mother of Mehmet III but was not completed until 1663 by Turhan Hadice, the mother of Mehmet IV.

Entering the courtyard the first thing that struck me was the men washing their feet before going in.  Only the men did this... not the women.

Every one has to take off their shoes to go inside.  Plastic bags were provided to carry your shoes around in.

this is a view of the ceiling

the men prayed near the front and the women stayed behind screens near the back.

close up of one of the wall tiles

Women prayed behind the screened wall on the left of the photo... the people walking around were tourists taking photos like me.

We exited from the side and came out to see more men using the fountains on that side of building to wash before going inside.
As we were leaving the call to prayer was sounding... which means we made it in and out before the crowd hit for prayer time!