Sunday, May 31, 2009

4 ways to have fun at church

You could try:

playing games

posing for photos

riding a horse

and of course...eating!

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This time of year many people love to get out into the great outdoors!! Picnicking, horseback riding, hearing the birds sing, the frogs croak and seeing the clear blue sky are simple joys that mean a lot to those of us who dwell in the city.

I am not a morning person. But getting up this morning had its rewards. Our church rented a bus and we drove out to a forest to hold our Sunday Service. Laughing children who were running and giggling in the background as we sang our worship songs reminded me of having church on the beach in California each summer.

I love participating in outdoor worship services... I pray that today's service will be just be the first of many more to come!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Okroshka- cold Russian Soup

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When we picnicked with our friends in the forest we began the meal with this delightful cold soup! As Zoya mixed it up I asked her how to make it. Normally, it is made with Kvass. She used a non alcoholic sweet version of kvass that was very tasty even as a drink. At the stage in the photo she is adding homemade sour cream!

I searched online for recipes and this one is the closest to what she described for me... I have yet to try to make it myself. So if you make it let me know!

Serves 6

1 cup meat (you could use ham, bologna or summer sausage)
1 cucumber
2 eggs, hard boiled
3 onions, green
1/2 cup sour cream
3-4 cups apple cider for soup consistency
fresh dill minced, to taste

Dice meat. Peel and dice cucumber and eggs. Slice green onions. Combine first four(4) ingredients. Mix together sour cream, and cider, and beat well. Add beef mixture and chill. Serve sprinkled with dill.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thought for Today

Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete.
If you're alive, it isn't.

Richard Bach

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

picnic in the forest

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Saturday we went to Afips with our friends Valera and Lyudmila and their childhood friends. This was the same group we spent Russian Christmas with on the 7th of January. As they were planning this trip for Lyudmila’s birthday one of their friends asked “are the Americans coming?!”

Laughing, joking and enjoying the great outdoors with this group was truly a pleasure. They have been friends for most of their lives so being included was honor for us as well.

Normally only meat is cooked on the grill and called “shashlik” but Lyudmila forgot to bring the meat so we stopped at a supermarket on the way and the only thing left was chicken. The grilled chicken was new for all of them so one of the rounds of toasting was to Lyudmila forgetting the beef and having to stop and pick up the chicken!!

Oh and in the final photo that is Raiya giving Zoya a haircut... she did Tatiana's hair as well and as soon as she was done and we moved away from the area a couple of birds scooped up all the hair for nest making!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

New Do'

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I spent today with three incredible young women... Jennifer, from Kenya, Francoise, from Rwanda and Veronica from Zambia. They walked with me to the tram stop and just before I got on the tram one of them hugged me and said "I wish I could talk to my mom the way I talked with you today!"

Life here in Krasnodar has been hard for the African students... I heard stories that brought me to tears. Please keep these young people in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Final MOPS of the Year

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We opened by singing with the kids and then they joined us for tea. We had 9 moms and 6 kids. Three of the moms were also grandmothers and they "ran" the program on our final day.
Our speaker was Linda, a grandma, from Texas. Linda has been involved with MOPS for over 15 years and it was a treat to have her here to share her wisdom and experience with us.
Lyuba and Avgusta, the other two grandmas, worked with the kids. Both of their grandkids and their daughters were in attendance this morning. Seeing two sets of three generations was a thrill for me. I hope that in the years to come we get more families involved with our program so that we can all continue to grow and learn together!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

At the circus

Last Saturday Tom and I took our friends, Alyona, Vasa and their kids to the circus. It was an intimate one ring circus with acts from different countries around the world. We were able to enjoy some of the traditional things that a circus has to offer like the clown dragging someone out of the audience to perfom with, acrobats, animals, high wire acts, cotton candy and caramel popcorn!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thought for today

We can teach from our experience, but we cannot teach experience.”
Sasha Azevedo

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

internet woes

not sure what was ging on but UTK, internet provider, was down for several days... it was hard not knowing what was going on in the world. Tom and I both read the news online everyday!!

Hopefully, it is back up for a while and I will be able to post an update on what we have been doing here lately... I have to get photos loaded first!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

under the weather

The weather here has been strange... we get a bright sunny day and then a rainy one. And I am left with muscle pain and fatigue. I wish the weather would just make up its mind!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

thought for today

" Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself."
--- Author Unknown ---

Monday, May 11, 2009

Russia wins!

Tom was up late last night watching the IHF World Championship Hockey game between Russia and Canada. When the game came to an end there was a collective "oorah!" from several of our neighbors!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

sunset in Kiev

I took these photos from the back of the boat of where Spencer's classes are held (University of the Nations)To me even the reflection of the sunset in the windows was truly a wonderful sight!

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Thought for today

Neither big guns nor big governments can heal a human soul... people need a Big Mama!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

they rolled out the red carpet...

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Not knowing how long it would take for us to find the Sports Palace we left our apartment early to be on time for registration. We got there 15 minutes later which made us 40 minutes early. When we arrived we saw them literally rolling out the red carpet!

We left to see the sights around the Sports Palace returning later to find male volunteers there to welcome us to the conference with applause and cheers. There was also a cameraman there to film everyone when we came in!!

All I can show you of the conference itself is the last photo posted. No photos are allowed during the conference. The slide says "welcome... the heavens believe in you"

Most of the speakers are preaching in English and then being translated into Russian. But sometimes I had to wait for the Russian translation to understand the idiom that had just been used. Cuz, I don't speak Australian!!

Today was a long day and now we are off to bed... gotta get an early start in the morning!

Monday, May 04, 2009

we are here!

We made it here to Kiev safely!!

We ate dinner at a Ukrainian Restaurant and enjoyed the tasty foods this country has to offer and then went off to meet up with Spencer. He gave Alyona the grand tour of the boat, introduced us to his classmates, teachers and roommates. It was good to see him again!

Tomorrow is day one of the Women's Conference and we are very excited!!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

the sisters unite because...

I am leaving today with my friend Alyona for the Hillsongs International Women's Conference. We will be traveling by train to the city of Kiev, Ukraine. Lisa Bevere is one of the speakers so the conference will be in English and Russian. And they are expecting women from many different countries to come.

I am looking forward to getting to know Alyona better and to hearing the incredible worship music that Hillsongs never fails to provide!

You can read the reasons why the sisters unite here:

and here is more info about the conference:

The apartment that we are staying in has internet access so I should be able to check in and give updates from the conference!

Friday, May 01, 2009


We survived another day of babysitting!! I made a batch of homemade playdough with the kids, played princess, drove cars with Elijah and it was warm enough to play outside for a bit. Tom killed off all of the dragons in the house and made sure the Grinch didn't come after us!!

Russian has two separate words to ask the question "why". I am used to hearing adults use "pachemy?" (why?) most of the time. But 5 year olds seem to prefer "zachem" (for what purpose). Most of the time I was able to give her the purpose for something... I am grateful for my 5 year old language helper. She keeps me on my toes!!