Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sandia Peak

Here are a few of the photos I took today!

the coloring you see on the photo is Tom's Hawaiian print shirt!

a tram going up and we were going down.

On Thursday Tom, Dad, Spencer and I went up to Sandia Peak. I am glad that I let the guys talk me into going. The ride was not the scary event that I was bracing myself for. Instead it was exciting. At the top you are treated to view that spans an 11,000 square mile radius.

The last time we went to see a world record holding tourist site there was a tornado a few hours after we had been there. See this post to read about The world's largest hand dug well in Greensburg, Ks.

The tram going up to Sandia Peak is the World's Longest Aerial Tramway. The ride is 15 minutes long and you will have much to see along the way and once you get to the top.

Once at the top it was over 20 degrees cooler up there and Spencer and I were glad that we took our jackets. Dad and Tom toughed it out!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Young Life Camp

Spencer is scheduled to go to a Young Life Camp in June. I think he is counting down the days until he is away from Tom and I.

He really has had such a great attitude as he has traveled the country with us. I know when I was 17 I would not have wanted to spend my summer on a road trip with my parents!

Spencer will be going to Frontier Ranch in Buena Vista, Colorado. If you check out the website you can watch a video to see some of the activities he will be involved in.

Spencer is able to attend the camp thanks to the Outward Focus team at Hope Community in Andover, Kansas.

We are so grateful that they thought of this detail ... giving him a chance to have a real vacation before we return to Russia in July!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Reality TV

Are you watching the new reality tv shows?

One of the things we miss when we are in Russia is American TV. Since our arrival in the states on February 22nd, we have been able to see, American Idol, America's Next Top Model, The Bachelor, Dancing With The Stars and Survivor.

Now that those shows are over a whole new crop of shows are sprouting up. I enjoy watching the The Lot, which is going to award a million dollar contract to an aspiring film maker. I know there are some others like America's Got Talent and The Next Big Thing but I have not seen either one of those... the show that cracked us up last week was "So You Think You Can Dance".

Tonight's episode should be good... they will be showing auditions from LA and Chicago, I know there will be some great dancers but I am sure there will be some colorful characters just as there were with the New York auditions last week!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Another reason to drink?

Temperature guide: 33 degrees celsius= 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit

Tuesday, May 29, 2007.
Issue 3666.
Page 3.
Blackout Fears Amid a Record Heat Wave
The Moscow Times

As the temperature hit a record high Monday, Moscow's electricity provider scrambled to prevent a blackout due to a surge in the use of air conditioners.

The temperature hit 33.2 degrees Celsius in Moscow on Monday, surpassing a record of 32.2 degrees set for the day in 1995, Interfax reported, citing the Moscow area weather bureau.
Electricity use jumped 8 percent, forcing Unified Energy Systems to impose limits on corporate consumers, company spokeswoman Margarita Nagoga said, Interfax reported. The situation was exasperated by the closure of the city's Matveyevskaya transmission substation for repairs, she said.

The limits are to be lifted Tuesday. Two years ago, a surge in demand caused by a heat wave led to a power outage that began in Moscow and spread to the Moscow, Tula, Kaluga and Ryazan regions, leaving 1.5 million to 2 million people without electricity.

Monday's heat sparked small fires at several electricity substations around Moscow, Interfax said.

A poll of Moscow kiosk vendors, meanwhile, found that the sale of beverages shot up by 80 percent on Monday.

Beer sales alone were up 90 percent, according to the Interfax poll.

Moscow temperatures are expected to hover around 30 degrees for the rest of the week.


Our friends in Andover had been on a cruise before we visited them. They said that everyday there would be a new towel animal on their bed.

This is what we found waiting to welcome us to their home. It was such a treat! We are grateful for the hospitality that we have been shown in so many unique ways since we have been here in the states.

Thanks Cathy and Paul!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Paris Hilton

She is always in the news... we have all seen her pose for the cameras. And yet how many of us take the time to pray for her and consider her spiritual condition.

I found an article here:

The story about Paris begins like this----> "Paris Hilton has turned to Buddhism in her ongoing campaign to avoid jail. And if that doesn't work she has a Christian Bible as well."

Just do a quick search on of Paris Hilton Bible and you will find a number of stories making fun of her desperate attempt to find some peace spiritually.

I don't know whether Ms. Hilton is a Christian, a Buddhist or what. I do know that she needs some guidance from a power greater than herself. My prayer for her and for all young people who are facing jail time or currently serving time in prison, is that God reveals Himself in an unmistakable way.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Captain Jack is Back!

Are you going to see Captain Jack? We are! We used to purchase our tickets early. We didn't want to take a chance on the movie being sold out! So if you are wondering about us at 11:35 am on Friday... just know that we will be sitting in a movie theatre waiting to get through all the previews to see Pirates of the Caribbean at World's End!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Tom and I have been walking the past couple of nights. I found that on the first night our walk was about 4 hours before bed and we both slept better.

An article on the AARP website has this to say:
"Walking has a long-term impact on your sleep as well as giving short-term relief. On restless nights, instead of turning on the TV, get up and pace around the house. Take in deep breaths as you move. Shake out your arms and legs. Stretch out your neck. When you climb back into bed, you'll feel more prepared for a healthy trip into dreamland. " you can read the full article about how walking affects sleep here:

You can find a fairly detailed list of benefits to walking by clicking here I found them on the AARP website as well.

Walking is a simple exercise that we should be able to do no matter if we are in Russia or here in the states! We both have good walking shoes so all we need is a path to walk on.

Celebrate Spencer Day

HAPPY 17th BIRTHDAY, Spencer!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Name Game

On Sunday we were at church and they were having a ceremony to honor all the children who were taking a step from one level in their education to the next.

As the names were called in the earlier grades we heard a name that sounded very familiar. I believe that she was going from kindergarten to first grade. I didn't want to to talk during the service so I asked Tom about her name when we got home.

We both heard the same thing. This girls name was... Beyonce'. Yep, just like the singer.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

blog your blessing Sunday

Picture of a gallbladder

Our blessing this week comes in form of Tom feeling much better. "Thank you" to all who have prayed for him.

He still has not had surgery to remove the gallbladder... because we are waiting for insurance to kick in. The insurance policy we had before only covered us in Russia.

We are blessed that he is able to follow a low fat diet and keep his gallbladder from getting angry with him!

Friday, May 18, 2007

On Russian time!

I sent a text message to Lena asking her and Alexei to pray for Tom.

I got an answer back at 3:30 in the morning.

What a wake up call! Perhaps I need to start turning the ringer off on my phone when I go to bed.

To check the current time in Krasnodar click here now to check the time in Albuquerque click here ! You can find the home page of the world clock here!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

50th Anniversary

One of the blessings of being in the states is being able to participate in family events! My parents, John and Kathryn, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on the 12th of May. This is a photo of Spencer and I with my parents at Brunch on Mother's day, the 13th.

Thank you Angie, for the photo!

Spider Man 3

Nathan, Spencer and I went to see this yesterday and we enjoyed it a great deal. However, our trip out of the parking garage was not so enjoyable.

We had to take the stairs since the elevator was out of order. We came down behind a group of teens smoking marijuana. I hate that smell! I said this aloud so they would hear. The guy whose turn it was with the joint stepped out of the way so we could pass the group by. I guess I should be grateful for his manners?! It is amazing what some people will do in public.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Gallbladder attacks

Thanks to everyone who was praying for Tom after this recent gallbladder attack. We now believe that this is what sent him to the emergency room last year in Russia. We just found out that we will not have insurance with East-West until late June. So we are looking at other options to cover the cost of surgery.

Tom is doing much better. He does not at this time have any gallstones. He was diagnosed with gallbladder disease. He has been faithfully following a low fat diet that was recommended for him. He also needs to stay away from acidic foods. He is not having fun with this new diet but he is being a trooper!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

I was tagged by Crickl and by Young Pastor's Wife to do a meme of 7 random things about me. Since it is my birthday today I will give it a try!

1) I was born in Chiseldon, England on an Air Force base. My mother was 7 months pregnant when she flew across the pond with my two older brothers in tow!

2) As a child the name Alida was different and rarely pronounced correctly, in Russia I have been told that my name is Russian and easy to remember!

3) My husband Tom and I, my brothers John and Kevin and their wives Karen and Shari have all been married 25 years!

4) On my mother's side of the family I have 7 cousins and only 1 female cousin, Hilary, and we are 14 years apart in age. On my father's side of the family I am one of 50 first cousins!

5) Not knowing that I would ever go to Russia one day it just so happens that I actually learned some Russian in 4th grade at Isely Elementary School in Wichita, Ks.

6) I love to knit and crochet... that is not news to anyone who knows me. However, I am left handed and I was taught by my mother's cousin Sharon, who is also left handed!

7) My favorite dessert is Key Lime pie and my gracious mother-in-law is making me one today for my birthday!

***If you are a blogger and would like to do a 7 things meme then jump right in!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Back in New Mexico

Since I did most of the driving I am pretty wiped out! I will be sure to do a better update tomorrow after I get some rest. We need to get Tom in to see a doctor as soon as possible. He is feeling better but we don't want him to have another gallbladder attack. They are extremely painful and no fun at all!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

To all the moms out there... may your day be blessed!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Tribute to GreatMom

I will miss Velda. She was very kind and gracious to me. I am just the wife of one of her grandsons... and yet she took the time to write, send me a birthday card and a gift every year since I married Tom 25 years ago. Tom and I are grateful that our sons ages 19 and 16 have many wonderful memories of their GreatMom! We will especially remember her at Christmas time. Her Christmas cookies were always fought over when the package arrived from Newton to our home in California.

May she always be remembered for her devotion to her family.

Velda Sharp, 93, died May 6, 2007, at Newton Medical Center, Newton.

She was born Oct. 13, 1913, in Castleton, the daughter of John and MaryAnn Hyson DeNoon.

A resident of Newton, she was a homemaker. She was a Auxiliary member of the Veteran of Foreign Wars and she attended a neighborhood Bible study.

On Oct. 3, 1931, she married Charles Sharp in Hutchinson. He preceded her in death.

Survivors include: a son, Norman, Albuquerque, N.M.; two daughters, Charlotte Sharp Stephens, Newton, and Shirlee Larson, Blue Springs, Mo.; 8 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren; and a great-great-grandchild.

She was preceded in death by a brother, six sisters and a grandson.

Funeral will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Petersen Funeral Home Chapel, Newton, with Chaplain Bill Regier presiding. Visitation will be from 1 to 9 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.

Memorials may be sent to the American Heart Association, in care of the funeral home, 215 North Main, Newton, KS 67114.

meetings, meetings!

Yesterday we drove down to Edmond, Oklahoma to meet with a missions pastor. We braved all the rain we had to drive through and it was well worth it!

We got a chance to meet with a man who is doing Recovery Ministry there and were able to sit and plan for a short term mission trip by some members of the Recovery Ministry. Thanks Pastor Mike for asking us to come to Edmond!

We will be going back to Edmund on Sunday. We'll have dinner with a group from the church and then we will be sharing our testimonies at the Celebrate Recovery Service on Monday night!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


May 9th is Victory Day in Russia. You can click here to learn about the song "Den Pobedy". Spencer had to remind me this morning what the date was. I think he just wanted to get out of school. It is great to go to school in Russia there are lots of holidays!

** a side note for those who may not know: if there are highlighted words within the text of my blog you can click on them and it will take you to a website that is connected to the topic that I am writing about.

Monday, May 07, 2007

New to us!

On Sunday after one of the services at Hope, Tom was speaking with Mel who was asking if we had gotten a laptop yet. Tom was telling Mel that we had not gotten the funds yet. Jeff overheard and stepped up to say that he had a laptop that was not being used and that if we could use it he would clean his information off of it and bring it over.

True to his word, on Monday night Jeff brought over a Hewlett Packard laptop and we are so excited. This donation provides us with a computer that we can travel with. Tom often uses power point when he speaks. As I type this, using Paul and Cathy's PC, Tom is sitting with our new laptop typing up a summary of book he read.

What a blessing... the kindness of people within the body of believers never ceases to amaze me!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

what can I say?

Tom's grandmother passed away last night. It looks as if the funeral will be on Saturday.

We are in mourning over the loss of the this kind and gentle woman. And we are grateful that we are here in the states and can actually participate in the funeral.

Please pray for the entire Sharp family during this time of loss.

out of the mouths of babes!

Tom spoke at the service last night and again this morning. The third service got cancelled due to the weather.

Spencer and I worked with the younger kids. He had the 1st and 2nd graders and I had the 3rd-5th graders. It was a blast to see their reactions to to our talks.

One little girl asked me if there was any food in Russia that I did not like. I told her that was a good question. Then I asked the kids if they liked jello. Every hand in the room went up. I told them to imagine that their jello had chicken or roast beef in it. There was a collective "EWWW!" that rose up in the room. I explained that meat jello is called "holidelnik" and so far it is the only dish that I didn't really like!

Marilyn M. was leading the class and she explained to the kids that 75% of Russians are alcoholic. Since we had 25 kids in the room she asked 5 kids to stand up... then she told the kids that the 5 people standing were the only ones in the room who were not alcoholic. One little girl put her hands on the sides of her face and said:

"But, I don't wanna be an alcoholic!"

Spencer asked his group if they had any questions and one little girl raised her hand and said:

"I like to eat the white part out of the Oreos"!

We truly enjoyed spending time speaking with the kids. We showed off Spencer's Marvel Comic Books that are in Russian. And we shared with them about living in a different country. We shared what our frustrations are and what our successes are. We talked little bit about the economy and compared Krasnodar to Andover.

Spencer and I were both disappointed that the last service was cancelled. He was asked to speak to the kindergarten as well as the 1st and 2nd grades. We were each looking forward to what the next classes would have to say!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

tornado damage

Street sign pointing toward the World's Largest Hand Dug Well

looking down into the well

Spencer standing in front of the gift shop and museum

As we traveled from Dalhart, Texas to Andover, Kansas we took the 54 highway. Greensburg is the site of the World's Largest Hand-Dug Well and since we had to drive through Greensburg I decided we should stop and go see it.

I had chatted with the woman working in the gift shop about the weather. She was concerned about getting some bad weather later that day. She was right. Greensburg was devastated by a tornado.

Many of the buildings along the highway 54 were destroyed. According to the weather channel the path of the tornado was a mile wide. The building that Spencer is standing in front of in the photograph above no longer exists.

As we drove through Greensburg we talked about what a quaint little city it is. And how peaceful and beautiful it is. Now it is a disaster area and martial law has been declared in the city. You can read about it here:

Our hearts and our prayers go out to the people in the city and in Kiowa county.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tom and one of our faithful supporters!

Before we left two years ago we made everyone we visited watch Napoleon Dynamite. We didn't get to watch it with Ed and Noel but they love Napoleon as much as we do!

Vote for Pedro!

one wrong letter

I sent an email in Russian to my friend Olya to tell her that I found a book by a Russian author. I tried to type "he wrote The Turkish Gambit" but, what I typed was "he urinated The Turkish Gambit".... typing one wrong letter can make or break you. Hopefully, she will get a good laugh and understand what I was trying to say!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

getting ready

Spencer and I shopped for yarn for an afghan for him. It was a job that I could not be trusted to do alone... he does not want me to choose any color that might be remotely girlie! He chose 3 shades of burgundy with black for an accent. I started it tonight and will work on it as we travel. I finished one for Nathan on our last road trip.

Tom tried to get pictures of his jewelry taken today and for some reason my camera didn't cooperate for him. We need to find a camera shop and see what the problem is. Tom pointed out to me that my camera has literally taken thousands of pictures since we purchased it two years ago!

Right now I am putting all the photos that have already been taken on Photobucket. Maybe if I can get the memory card cleaned it will function better!