Saturday, May 31, 2008

Orange County dreaming!

Ok, so being from Orange County I am estatic about my results!

Orange County
You're rich, pretty, and living a charmed life. (Or you seriously wish you were.)
From Disneyland to Laguna Beach, you're all about living the California dream life.
Just make sure to marry rich - so you don't have to work for it!

Friday, May 30, 2008

weighing in!

I am so excited to be getting closer to my goal!! I read an article a month ago about weight loss being connected to getting enought sleep. In addition to eating less and moving more I am also sleeping more.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thought for Today

Now that last week's toilet crisis is behind me, I am back to meditating on various quotes... and here is my choice for this week!

A faith is that which is able to survive a mood.
G.K. Chesterton

Meditate with me on that for a bit, and ask yourself "is my faith dependent on my mood?"

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

not much going on...

If I were running a news desk I would have to say that today is a slow news day!

We were all moving slow today... I was in bed most of the day with fibromyalgia pain. I did get up to meet with Sasha for my language helper session. She explained the grammar I most likely missed in class today.

Tom popped popcorn for me and we watched a few movies... he and Spencer both went out for a bit to do some shopping.

Yep, I was right, it is definitely a slow news day!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Eurovision 2008

I didn't get to see this year's show and I am bummed about that. This year's winner is from Russia!!

You can read more here and watch a video!

Back in 2006 when I did watch the whole night... Dima came in second to Lordi. From all the coverage they have done of this on the news, it seemed to be a bigger victory than Russia winning at soccer!

Friday, May 23, 2008

weighing in!

This is the second week in a row that we had birthday party food on Thursday. Yesterday, I baked four homemade pizzas and a birthday cake and today I weighed in... thankfully, I am down a pound so I didn't suffer too much!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Spencer, Happy 18th Birthday!

We are very proud of the mature young man that Spencer is. He walks with the Lord, he is a great friend, an incredible hugger, has an infectious laugh and a heart of gold!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

all is well!

Yesterday I called Kolya to see if he could come by and work on the toilet... it would either not stop running or it wouldn't flush. Tom was fixing it just about every other day.

At first Kolya said that Friday was the soonest he could get here. He surprised me this morning with a phone call saying that he would be in our area today and could come over after 4 o'clock. He was able to replace the flushing mechanism and now it works like a charm. He even bargained at the market for a fairly large discount on the part!

When we paid him for his labor he told us it was too much... but we felt like the work he did was priceless!! In America we would have paid at least 100 dollars just for the service call. We paid Kolya 40$ and it was worth every penny.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

plumbing woes

Our toilet is on the fritz again... this is not a fun cultural experience! Last year it was several weeks before we were able to get everything taken care of. I have calls to make this afternoon to see if we can get someone here soon. My prayer is that someone will be here tomorrow!

Monday, May 19, 2008


It is always hard getting back into the swing of school after a weekend of working. Where did our weekend go!?

Tom started another three week Saturday session. His new topic is Optimal Relationships. We were excited to see so many young couples in attendance!

We paid for advertisements to go up on all the bus stops in two different regions here in the city. We don't know how successful that will be in bringing new people to Tom's seminars but since the cost was only 8 dollars for 2 weeks it won't hurt us if it doesn't pan out!

Sunday was the Christian Recovery meeting and that went well... the guys from the rehab center were back in attendance but the AA guys were not there! Hopefully, we can get them all together one of these Sundays!

Today there is a meeting for those interested in working with MOPS here in Krasnodar. Unfortunately, I cannot attend. I have to make finishing school and working with Tom my first priority right now!

Friday, May 16, 2008

weighing in!

This morning I was a little nervous approaching my scale... I was not sure if it was going to continue being so nice to me. I am excited that despite having birthday food yesterday, I still managed to lose 2 pounds!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!

Tom and Spencer took me out to dinner and to see Prince Caspian! I thought it was very kind of Walt Disney and Walden Media to have the movie open here in Russia on my 45th birthday… it was truly a treat!

I am so grateful to my friends for all the calls, emails, text messages, gifts and well wishes today. I was overwhelmed and had a few moments of happy tears and some belly laughs thrown in throughout the day!

A traditional Russian birthday greeting is to congratulate you, and then tell you all the wonderful things they can think of to wish for you in the coming year. I heard some of the most beautiful wishes today from our Russian friends. Even one of Spencer’s friends called me. He is so sweet. He had worked out what he wanted to say and did it all in English perfectly!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Thought for Today

The soul needs an intense, full bodied spiritual life
as much as and in the same way that the body needs food.
Thomas Moore


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Natural Disasters

When Sasha arrived today I had the news on TV... they were showing the devastation from the earthquake in China.

We ended up having a discussion on earthquakes in California. I explained to her what it felt like when I experienced my first one and the damage that I have seen close up. We then went on to discuss tornadoes!

I am grateful to be at a point in language acquisition where I can have these types of conversations. She taught me a few new words which I need to write down before I forget. Whenever I don't know a word I just describe it and then Sasha is great at telling me what the word is!

After that we actually had a discussion pertaining to my current lesson... we talked about the Fine Arts; theatre, ballet, music and artwork.

Earthquakes to artwork in two hours time!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sunday's news...

Yesterday was our second Christian Recovery meeting!

We had a completely different turnout than we did last week. This time the men from the recovery house were working in another city and were not there. However, there were people in attendance from AA along with a few leaders from our church.

Tom did a magnificent job teaching on the topic of powerlessness from his series "Spiritual Kindergarten". We had a time for sharing personal experiences and/or impressions, a short break for tea followed by a time for prayer requests, and then prayer as a group.

A few of people who attended are not church goers, and at least one of them is not a believer… couple of them believe in God but, don’t know much about Jesus. We are grateful that they chose to come and take part in this meeting. One of the new guys asked if he could bring his wife next week!

We are excited about the growth and development of this group!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Victory Day

Yesterday was Victory Day here in Russia. We watched the Moscow parade on tv and saw all the soldiers, tanks and airplanes... maybe being an Air Force brat has me spoiled, but my favorite part is always the fly over!

We celebrated Friday's holiday by going to an art museum with friends and hanging out for the day.

Today Spencer went out shopping with his friend Vlad, and I spent most of the day laying down resting while Tom was getting ready for his upcoming seminar and for speaking tomorrow night at the Recovery meeting.

Friday, May 09, 2008

weighing in!

I am excited about losing 2 pounds this week! I don't have much to share about how I did it... just eating less and moving more. That is what seems to work best for me!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Who will rule?

Yesterday Russia's new president Dmitry Medvedev was inaugurated into office... one of his first acts as president was to nominate Vladimir Putin as prime minister. There is a question in the minds of some people here and abroad as to who will actually hold the power here in this country.

Please continue to pray with us for the future of Russia and her people!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Thought for Today

Cast all your cares on God; that anchor holds!
Lord Alfred Tennyson

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Planting Seeds

On Sunday Tom and I were among the privileged few invited to the beginning of a recovery church here in Krasnodar... a planting of seeds.

Alexei had been thinking and planning for a long time. He decided it was time for him to start this meeting… a Christian recovery meeting. He didn’t call it that. He called it a meeting for believers looking for healing. Healing from addiction, bad habits and sin.

Tom was the one who was actually invited by Alexei. I was asked by Tom to come and translate for him. Tom, Alexei, me and 10 men from a local recovery program were in attendance.

The meeting will be held weekly.
Alexei will be the main teacher and he asked Tom to help him out as well.
Beginning next week members of AA will be invited to participate.
Alexei chose the format… he gave a 30 minute lesson that he wrote himself which included Biblical truths from Step 1 of the 12 Steps.
We took a break for tea and dessert.
Following the short break each person shared a prayer need and then the men took turns praying around the circle.

We think this was the first meeting of it’s kind here in Krasnodar… if not all of Russia

Monday, May 05, 2008

lost in transation...

A while back I got an email from a friend in America. She had received an email from a Russian speaking person, the person wrote in English, but something got lost in translation.

The confusing words were in the form of a question:

Can be eat phone?

At first glance I thought “this guy is a nut!” Then I read it again. I laughed. And I wrote back to my friend. The Russian verb ‘to eat’ is the same as one of the verbs that means ‘to have’.

So the question should be:

Is there a phone?

When trying to write in a foreign language do not rely solely on an electronic translator… it just might lead you astray!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

comforting others...

A friend called in a panic needing someone to watch her daughter for a bit. I felt that after spending this week basking in the comfort of God, Tom and Spencer, and Arina (a teacher from our school and my massage therapist) I was ready to give some comfort to someone else.

We had recently purchased the movie Horton in Russian. I just knew this little one would enjoy it. She was not interested. She wanted to see the “hippopotamus” movie…meaning the movie Madagascar. I take out Horton and put in Madagascar.

Talking with Tom about it later he reminded me that perhaps she was looking for the comfort of something familiar. I get that.

When our family looks for comfort from the stress of living abroad we seek refuge in movies. We have old favorites that we watch over and over.

When we want to be comforted by God we might read a familiar passage from the word, meditate on the Serenity Prayer, turn on our favorite praise music or read from an old familiar devotional book.

Being reminded of the value of comfort came through a child choosing a video from our collection of old favorites. One of our favorite verses is “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from Christ”. (2 Cor. 1:4b)

This little girl was feeling the stress of being away from home…and she needed a little comfort in her time of trouble!

Friday, May 02, 2008

weighing in!

I am grateful that I managed to lose 3/4 of a pound this week! Tom did a great job of making me get outside to walk eveyday. Exercise does help with Fibromyalgia so I know it is extremely important for me to do. And having him or Spencer walk with me is a wonderful bonus.

Knowing that I was going to post about the results of this week also helped me to think twice about what I chose to eat this week...maybe I should have done this sooner!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Apteka (pharmacy)

Wednesday is skidky (sale) day at our local pharmacy. We receive a 12 % discount on everything we purchase. Tom usually goes over to the pharmacy each Wednesday to pick up whatever we happen to need. This week he tried to purchase a muscle relaxer prescribed by our doctor for me. They didn’t have the one I needed. Tom came home and told me that they tried to find it but no such luck.

I got out our Russian book of medications and looked for a different one. I wrote down exactly what I needed it for, my symptoms and the names of three possible medications that should be available here. The young pharmacist patiently listened to everything I said and then took my list behind the counter with her to see what she could find. The older pharmacist/manager saw me waiting and said she would be right over. Armed with my list and my description of my symptoms they found an alternative medication for me.

The manager had the younger pharmacist read to me from the paperwork that comes with the medication… what it was for, what the side affects are and who should not take the medication and so on. It was funny because the manager would say “now read her this!” and “this is important for her to know too”. Because of all the reading I had done before going to the pharmacy and the new words I had looked up in my research I understood all of what was being read to me. She did a great job of reading clearly and slowly. Her final piece of advice to me was to receive a round of massages to help ease my pain. She told me "no less than five massages would do!"

Once they were assured that I understood what I was buying I was allowed to purchase it. I came home and looked it up in English on the internet and confirmed that it is indeed a muscle relaxer and is recommended by doctors for treatment of Fibromyalgia.

I know that sometimes, okay maybe often, even Russians complain about the nonexistence of customer service here in Russia. But, we have yet to encounter that at this pharmacy. Because of Spencer’s juvenile glaucoma, my fibromyalgia and Tom’s medical needs we have had many interactions with the pharmacists in this particular pharmacy.

They go out of their way to help us each time we walk in. If they don’t have what we need they will often order it for us… especially if it is one of Spencer’s glaucoma meds. We have been told by our Russian friends that this pharmacy is too expensive and that we should not shop there. The muscle relaxer I bought yesterday was only 9 dollars. I am sure that for some of our friends that is expensive. We will however, continue to be loyal to this store because they are so kind and loyal to us!

And yes, I have already had my first massage therapy session (the cost is only a few dollars per hour) beginning on Wednesday. Arina is one of our teachers at the language school, and she also works as a massage therapist to help supplement her income. She was actually a massage therapist before she began studying to become a teacher. She will come everyday until Monday even though this is a holiday weekend to complete the five sessions. Already I feel so much better!