Archive for July, 2013

God’s bringing me back around to this issue again. In various ways.

I read this quote about introverts, and I thought, wow, that is exactly how I feel about fundraising!

“I’ll be honest with you, I’m a little bit of a loner. It’s been a big part of my maturing process to learn to allow people to support me. I tend to be very self-reliant and private. And I have this history of wanting to work things out on my own and protect people from what’s going on with me.” Kerry Washington

I read Anthony Norris Grove’s (the Father of Faith Missions) biographies and I ask God if we should not live this way? Just ask of Him and not of people?

And He answers “No.”

But I’m continually waiting on Him to know when and who to ask, or to not ask. How to ask. Please prepare me to ask. Please move the hearts of those You want to give. ….

So many things He must do! And I’m enjoying letting Him lead the process.

These last few weeks, I’ve been wrestling around with several of the many groaning needs of Ukraine: orphan graduates who are so likely to get into drugs, jail, prostitution, to die young and hopeless. –Two young Christian gals looking for a family to live with as they transition out of the orphanage, and can we take them? … can we not take them? The sexual slavery … the huge amount of sexual slavery. … going on in my city. (in your city)

Not to mention the addicts living in our village house, and how many more can come once the new building can be completed. And their wives, children, mothers, fathers. Their broken relationships. Their sicknesses. Their sometimes deaths.

And I think of the enormous number of abortions done here. And of Vasya and Olya who’ve devoted themselves to establishing the crisis pregnancy center here, the hotline, the post-abortion Bible studies–the one finishing up next month with the memorial service I’m scheduled to go to in two Mondays…. that I love to slip large amounts of money to so they can live and serve here and devote themselves to standing in the jaws of this hidden, gaping destruction and rescuing …

And God brings me around to fundraising. To see His face. To bless His people by depending on them, by needing them, by being their servant hands, their tired feet, their crying seeing eyes, their hugs. In this place.


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a crab in my bed

I kid you not.

Vitaliy and Skyla caught 4 relatively small crabs while we’re in Crimea. He made a little place for them:

DSCN5121a deep-sided plastic drawer.

I want to note that this drawer is right next to our mattress there on the right.

Yesterday he added some tubes into this little deal–air tubes, a sand filter, etc. He prides himself in doing all this for free—rocks brought from the Sea, sand filter made from playground sand in a little plastic container, etc.

Last night, I don’t even know why I woke up. And I started sweeping my hand down our sheet to the end of the mattress. Then I saw a little black thing moving!!

I wake up the man, he turns on the light, checks the crab palace, and sure enough, two are AWOL. He immediately spots one of them on our sheets! Puts it back, then spots the other on the floor around the desk.

Shiver. I remained and continue to remain. Calm.

Life is stranger than fiction.

Let’s get a laugh out of it, people.


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“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

DSCN4923“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

Quotes from this site.

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Psalm 119

I’m mulling over what I’ve read and re-read in Psalm 119, and one main lesson I’m taking from this is:

It’s more important to do God’s Word than to read It.

Let me explain my context for this statement. I love reading. I love reading God’s Word. I’m a natually studious person and God’s helped me grow in love for Him as the years go by.

Now I think a lot about motherhood, and being a studious reader is really thwarted by small kids. It’s a mental shift I’ve been making for years now.

It’s hard to sit in my house and read my Bible, and add to that that I love to journal and write. …


And when the girls were little, I sit down anywhere, and they come wanting love and attention and this or that also. It’s what little kids do. I try waking up early, they wake up early. …. You get the idea.

It’s better now. I’m more patient; they are not so naturally dependent on me. They still wake up really early, though, even if they’re in another room 🙂 But running away to a quiet, clean cafe is still my preferred mode 😉

Anyway, so reading this psalm has been really interesting. Because it’s all about one’s relationship to the Word of God. But never once does it say read it. Though reading/knowing it is assumed or implied.

But the psalm emphasizes doing it, keeping it, obeying it, observing it.

And God gave me a thought like this: Don’t break my word for the sake of reading it.

God would rather that I obey His word by self-control, patience, joy, love than run away to read it or get upset with kids needing something while I’m trying to read it.

Being a mom of little kids is a special time. It’s a time of living out what’s been studied and read about for however long I’ve been reading the Bible. It’s a season of doing in the most intense, demanding, “requiring of me” relationships.

I return to Martin Luther’s “A Sacristy Prayer” that I re-wrote to apply to motherhood:

Lord God, You have appointed me as a Mother in this Family, but you see how unsuited I am to meet so great and difficult a task. If I had lacked Your help, I would have ruined everything long ago. Therefore, I call upon You: I wish to devote my mouth and my heart to you; I shall teach our children. I myself will learn and ponder diligently upon Your Word. Use me as Your instrument — but do not forsake me, for if ever I should be on my own, I would easily wreck it all.

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cave city way up high

Another difference with this vacation is that we’re not just doing the beach. I actually am not a huge beach person. It’s hot, sandy, I don’t like salt water and little animals … But I do enjoy the waves, shells, rocks, etc.

But this year we’re doing some sight seeing, too. Ukraine has some interesting places though you have to dig a bit to find them.

A few days ago, we drove through Бакчисарай (Bakhchysarai) and stopped to climb up to the cave city Chufut-Kale [Choo-fute Kah-LEH].

We climb way up, enter the very-ancient city, and here are some pictures.



DSCN4800being silly


our baby goat--loves to climb rocks!

our baby goat–loves to climb rocks!

DSCN4835We saw goats grazing on the hillside, so we talked about the book Heidi that we’ve started reading together–how she lived in the mountains, went out with the goats, etc.


Sling mommy

DSCN4839Vika was fascinated by the tomb of the lady—she was the daughter of someone important. She keeps wondering about her, who she was, how she died, etc.

the casket on the white ledge

the casket on the white ledge

Vika told me the next day she couldn’t stop thinking about her and wondering. … Yes, dear girl, open your mind and wonder and learn!

DSCN4815Love it.

Thank you, God.




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It was after my wedding that I realized the vow was the most important thing I did or said that day. We don’t think much about it, maybe because we don’t live in a culture of vow-making. Or we don’t realize that we do—when we sign the credit card receipt, when we sign our name on any binding document. We don’t much pause to consider the weight of what we’re doing—that we’re promising to do what we just signed up for.

The marriage vow is a wonderful thing when we take it seriously. That even when the soul mate seems like an alien, we’re going to work together to make the relationship stay intimate.

That was my intro to talking about parenting styles.


Vitaliy has been counseling a man in church about for something I won’t tell about. He’s been reading several books with this guy and discussing them. Like Bridge’s The Discipline of Grace and others. I love being his confidant and discussion buddy.

I once read in a breastfeeding textbook how it’s important for parents to develop their own parenting style, to not think they need to rigidly follow a program, for example. That takes years really, and it’s hard, in the thick of it, to realize that these are the moments we, as a mom and dad, need to be expressing grace to each other. To let each other grow in our individual ways as God leads us.

This vacation has been wonderful for me because I see Vitaliy growing in grace towards our kids—a lot from these books he’s reading right now. Once it clicks inside him, he has much more self-control over his emotions than I do, so he can live it out more than I can. I can wax eloquent and understand it, but it’s a struggle for me to live it.

And one thing I’ve learned and am still learning is that we don’t have to force ourselves to agree about some things in parenting. That it’s OK to not see eye-to-eye all the time. Maybe it’s even normal and healthy. And there are things we haven’t agreed on. And ways I have changed enormously in my beliefs about parenting.

So anyway, on this vacation, Vitaliy especially blesses me and encourages me in being a self-controlled and loving mom. Just by watching him put into practice what he’s reading about and learning about God. It’s been very special.

in Sevastopol

in Sevastopol

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Neither Vitaliy nor I had ever been to the Azov Sea. We’ve just gone to the Black Sea in Crimea. But we recently learned that Victoria’s breathing problems while sleeping are due to enlarged adenoids, and salt water is great for it. We do a daily nose spray of salt water now, and it’s wonderful.

And we’ve heard that the Azov Sea is great for kids because it’s so shallow and pretty clean. So we decided to try it this year on the way to Crimea.

DSCN4667We spent three days there. We found a free beach, and we got the van up on it, too.DSCN4720

Vitaliy is great at getting people interested in new things, and he got Andre into the water like a fish!



There were lots of lizards!


I am reading Psalm 119 over and over and now thinking of how to apply it to my life–more on that later, if possible.



Time to read … time to discuss what we’re each learning …

V reading by the sea early morning …

DSCN4743And oh, how they love Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle!

DSCN4632We now play “What Johnny had in his pocket” because we read about it in a Mrs. P-W story.

One says: Johnny had in his pocket a frog (or whatever).

Next says: J had in his pocket a frog and a _____.

And we go round and round. We’ve gotten up to almost 30 objects that we could remember in correct order!

We also make Mrs. P-W town in the sand …


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