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Archive for October, 2013

foto shoot

we did a little photo shoot sunday with a professional gal in our church …

DSC_2635The spinning wheel was in our attic. the clay jars are from our house here, too– the previous owners cooked in the clay/brick stove a lot! What Vitaliy is holding– that’s the jar, then the special tool you use to get the jar in and out of the hot cave-like oven.

DSC_2650Coloring is so pretty outside!

DSC_2672I wanted to get individual shots with the girls because, you know, we’re always in a group:

DSC_2676And Vitaliy with Andre

DSC_2682The Ukrainian outfits are Vitaliy’s brilliant idea 😀

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We had yet another surprise bridal shower this past Sunday. The wedding is this Sunday, so we just squeezed it in! (The gals at my church are just awesome about stuff like this.)

DSCN6247They decorate so loverly.

DSCN6249I did  the little talk, and I spoke about a girl’s best friend in marriage.

Marriage is not just the culturally-accepted and expected next step in life. Let’s put God’s meaning into it. It is what God wants to use in your life now to sanctify you.

I want to talk about your best friend in marriage. If I’d had to answer the question when I was first married, who is my best friend?, I would not have answered this way. But it’s what I’ve learned so far.

A woman’s best friend, so to speak, is the Holy Spirit.

1. He will listen to you and change your prayers and questions (about life) to be more useful to you spiritually.

2. He will work to transform you. (You will see things in yourself you never saw before when you get into such a close relationship as marriage!)

3. In disappointments or hurt, He will comfort you.

4. He will remind you that God alone fulfills you, and even if you had the best husband in the world, this would not make you happy – only obeying God is worth it, bending our desires to submit to God’s will.

5. He will convict you of sin, enable you to forgive your husband, an soften your heart towards your husband in needful moments.

6. He will protect your saving faith and lead you into stronger, purer belief about God, His righteousness, and His love for you.

7. He will teach you to be content in any circumstance.

Two things to do to develop this relationship, to hear His voice amidst the babble of the many voices we hear:

1. Read the Bible, all of it, consistently.

2. Pray mainly and regularly for the major relationships in your life. Don’t let your prayer life be driven by emergencies, problems, daily needs. Keep the main things the main things in your prayer relationship.

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Makeover:

: the act or process of making changes to improve the appearance or effectiveness of someone or something. ~Merriam-Webster

God is putting me through a makeover where home schooling is concerned.

Asking a lot of questions, searching the Bible, waiting for God to give me personal directions and answers.

Home schooling is not what I expected. Are we all rolling our eyes and nodding? maybe rolling on the floor with convulsive laughter?

What ever is what we expected?

But I’ve lost time, and, though this searching should’ve been done years ago, God has led me into this seeking-stage now, rather than earlier.

Part of it is because I was long ago sold on home schooling but not self-convinced of the why’s of it. So now I’m asking, what is my particular passion or emphasis going to be in our particular home school? Why am I doing this? A 5-star education? Gaining certain life experiences? Job prep? Whatever mix of all these options?

One thing I’m doing as I’m searching all this out is reading I & II Timothy. So much emphasis there on faith, good conscience, pure hearts, being disciplined, being an example, pursing righteousnessgodlinessfaithlovesteadfastnessgentleness, being an unashamed workman.

Two specific thoughts I took away from this today:

1. “Take pains with these things, be absorbed in them so that your progress may be evidnet to all.” (I Tim 4:15)

This is how i want to be with schooling my children right now. I need to be absorbed in it, figuring it out, making progress, being made-over.

2. Incorporating 2 Tim 3:17 as part of my general philosophy of education, with the principle that: Scripture makes us adequate and equipped for every good work, so education is the servant of Scripture.

I’ve started a different blog as part of this whole thing. I’m going to keep this blog going, too, but it identifies me with birth, with Ukraine. And I wanted to make some steps to redefine myself and my focus, so I’ll be coming out with the new blog link some time soon. I’m posting on there, but I want to get the right picture in the header before I make it public-wublic. Call me vain 😉

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my wedding vows

my wedding vows

I put a copy of my wedding vow into my prayer notebook, to pray over at times, to ask God how I can fulfill it more fully and according to His will.

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A man named V came back to our center 2 days ago — Ruslan had gone for a day of witnessing and met him again. He was drunk, but he wanted to come back.

He told Vitaliy that the night before he left, a guy who also lives at the train station had murdered three others who live there too. Why?

Alcohol.

Vitaliy, not long ago, in a sermon, was talking about how Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He wants to kill as fast as he can.

I don’t know how to end this post. I don’t think I need to moralize or anything. But it’s sobering to be aware of.

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I have extremely conflicted feelings about home schooling, but that is another story.

We finish a 9-week unit this week and next, and one extra thing we’ve been doing is this book about money. It’s nice when you providentially stumble upon something that is just right–right age, well-liked, etc. And that was this.

DSCN6141It’s a Crown Ministries book.

12 lessons–a story for kids and the lessons are thematically interwoven. Giving, saving, honesty, debt, stewardship, etc.

DSCN6142We read short passages of Scripture and answered questions.

DSCN6143Thought about how they would give, save, and spend.

DSCN6144The girls mostly give their money away because they don’t really see that they need anything at this point in life. In the tithe chapter, they couldn’t believe that they should give only one dime out of ten–that is way too little. … So I decided not to try to convince them otherwise.

And we wrote out a short prayer at the end of each lesson.

DSCN6145Tonight the girls were really chatty as we did lessons, and wow, did I learn an earful–confessions of a few times they’d lied. And we talked about friends, and they understood why one past friend had not been a good influence.

In the chapter about salvation, we talked about some important things, and the girls both said they’ve prayed to believe–I actually had prayed with Skyla a few nights back. We’ll see how the Lord continues to lead them.

This little book didn’t look so interesting to me initially–I just picked it up for free somewhere! But I’m so glad we did it.

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Last Saturday, our church hosted a one-day conference for ladies. The theme was the tabernacle. We learned about Noah, Abraham, Moses, Christ. We learned about the tabernacle and the symbolic meaning of the furniture–the ark of the covenant, the incense … how it all pictures Christ.

My topic to speak on was how can we practically enter the Holy of Holies—meaning, how can we become that close to God.

Now, literally, the presence of God is in heaven–His glory shines there, but He does share His presence with us through the Spirit. So how we can become closer to Him is a valid question.

My talk had an introduction and 3 points. The second point was the largest, and the one I will write about here.

In order to draw close to God we have to accept God the way He is (the way He explains Himself to be in the Bible). This may seem a bit obvious, but it’s surprisingly hard to do and requires maturity that comes from the Holy Spirit.

Let me start with a far-off example. We know that catastrophes happen. Or we know that innocent children suffer terrible things.

Let’s bring it closer. Something terrible happens to someone we know.

Or to me. I am in pain. I am crying. I am hurt. Terribly disappointed. I am wrestling with a long-term, unfulfilled desire. … A “normal” desire even.

And God is in control.

He’s just so very sovereign and in control.

Maybe He’s not directly hurting me, but … He is in control.

And I’m in pain.

And it’s easy, even for a long-time Christian, to entertain towards God a wrong understanding of all this. (Look at Job and his friends, for example. Did any of them get it right?)

It’s subtle. We don’t verbally or mentally accuse God, but in our response can be this hurt toward God, that You did me wrong. You hurt me. I did nothing to deserve this.

You’ve offended me.

You sinned against me.

We don’t actually think those words, but if you think it out to the logical ends, that’s what we’re doing. It comes as anger toward Him, as accusations toward Him, but bottom line. We’re accusing God of sinning against us.

When Jesus walked on the earth, He fulfilled every single command of God every single moment. And did anyone notice? … No. They accused Him of sin. So accusing God of sin is not such a far off thing.

So, here comes the question. When I’m in pain and God is in control, am I ready to accept God the way He is?

And I want to add: We can’t just shrug and say grudgingly, “OK God, You don’t sin, but I still don’t have to like You or gratefully accept what You’re doing.”

Woe to us if we remain there!

We have to grow into accepting that 1) He never sins–that in fact, sin is so very far away from Him in His every act and dealing with us and all mankind–and that 2) everything He does in my life is a personal, deeply intimate, loving, compassionate, merciful, good act.

Is that true? is that really the way God is?

How is He? Who is He? And can I accept such a God, rather than remake Him in my own image?

He is:

  • “full of compassion and merciful” (Jam 5:11)
  • “righteous” (2 Chron 12:6)
  • never-ceasing lovingkindness, unfailing compassion, of great faithfulness (Lam 3:22-23)
  • Good to the person who seeks Him (Lam 3:25)
  • compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, full of lovingkindness and truth (Ex. 34:6, Jonah 4:2, Joel 2:13, Ps 103:8, Neh 9:17)

This list could go on and on.

But the point is, that to enter into intimate closeness to God, we have to humble ourselves to accept Him for who He is. Even when we’re in pain.

Especially when we’re in pain.

And then, may the day come in my life, that I trust His character enough that during deep pain, Whys don’t even come. And offense and petty hurt are not my friends. Just … who He really is and  “Thank You, God, I trust You.”

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