Archive for December, 2014

2014–looking backward

2014 was a good year. It was hard in having all this war going on, but personally, it was a good year of growth.

Our home school got into a better groove, especially while we were in the States–that was important and something I’d really been asking for.  And it’s still growing! We recently started playing recorders together, and I’m so thrilled that Vitaliy is now getting into art (painting, drawing), and he’s leading the girls along with him. That is huge.

Personally, with my appearance and weightloss: I was pregnant and had a baby most of the year. That was awesome! I started doing T-Tapp exercising in the Spring, and kept it up a while during pregnancy. Then after pregnancy, it’s helped me get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. (Looking forward, I want to keep losing now, but I’ll write about that when I write about 2015.

I also enrolled in a type of beauty school. I haven’t told many people about this. But it’s helped me know my personality type and how to dress for that— colors, style, flow of clothes– and how to do makeup and hair. I got a perm! What kind of jewelry and accessories to buy. I’m very happy about this. I have still more to learn and grow, but I love what I’ve done so far.

My marriage– Vitaliy and I celebrated 10 years in March, 2014! We went off for a week by ourselves, many thanks to my wonderful family for keeping our kids. Generally, seems to be going fantabulously. We talk a ton and grow in our own ways and share it with each other.

Church life–God worked a lot in 2014 clearing out a lot of negativity I didn’t realize was hiding there in my heart towards some people in our church ministry. I’ve been praying especially lately for a group of three guys in our church, and Vitaliy’s been meeting personally with each one, and … well, I’ll keep praying! And He’s teaching me how love is not cynical but stays soft and hopes all things.

Life with my children–Growing! They are sweet and enjoyable. They are loving and helpful. They are still kids, and I tend to worry and fret and focus on minutiae, but overall, God is teaching me most of all to lead in love and in example.

Bible reading–Just loving God through His words more, building my life on His truths. It’s been good. Stuff I want to improve, and I’m thankful God leads me here. Prayer has been His emphasis for a while now, and that is growing in my heart.

My midwifery studies– did a ton of stuff while we were in the States. I’m not studying consistently yet– I haven’t found the energy balance–when I get into midwifery studies, it tends to swallow all the energy I want to be putting into my kids and their schooling, so I’m still searching here. But I took the Terminology Exam and hosted a Midwifery Skills Lab–those were two big things.

Oh! This year was COOKING! Thank you, Lord! Such enjoyment finally in cooking, and success! Two things I’ve rather lacked the first 10 yrs of our marriage.

One thing I’ve noticed as I look back on this year, is how long I’ve prayed for some of these areas– for years and years– and made goals some years that I never could keep. But God does it, He does all things well, and in His time.

Thanking God for 2014. My word for that year was “content,” and it was that. In Him, He gave joy and growth.


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Our life now reminds me of our first year and a half of marriage, when we lived in the nearby bigger village. (We later moved to Kiev.)

Village churches, village services. There’s just a different flavor to it, than the Big City.

There’s a couple we’ve known for as long as we’ve known each other– and Vitaliy for even longer, as it is his best friend in Bible Institute days. They did their studies together, village evangelism together, life together. We were at their wedding. They invited us to this little Christmas Eve service in a neighboring village where believers from several villages would gather.  Their names are Olexiy and Luda.

This (the man with the guitar up front) is the missionary (Ukrainian) who works in this small village, Krasyatochi.


Vitaliy preached the first sermon.


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Then we had lots of участии — the part of the service where whoever wants to do something, can–sing a song, say a poem, etc. This is Luda’s children’s group singing–the two boys in the front are hers.


Olexiy preached.


This box sits in the back of the room for offerings. This is 2 Corinthisans 9:7 on it: “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”


Olexiy asked questions about Christmas– to see who could differentiate tradition from what’s actually written in the Scriptures. It was so interesting! He gave out candy to those who answered correctly.


It was a wonderful preparation for Christmas Day 🙂

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Christmas Morning

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books! books! books!

A bit of Christmas comes a week early!

Here’s how: When we left for the States last November, we packed up our crowded bookshelves in this house. Our kids’ books have been sitting still, in the attic, wrapped together with stretch (that plastic-wrap-type stuff people use for packing). So today, Vitaliy brought down a pack of them, and the girls excitedly looked through them all. And as I type, Vika is reading aloud Magic Tree House books to Skyla, who is working on her bead project.





I was thrilled to find two of the Jan Karon Mitford books! I’ve been thinking I’d like to buy myself the whole series so I can have them all together, in print.


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Skyla has a budding interest in art. Let me say, she’s always been the artistic one, and I’ve just kept her well-supplied with markers, glue, glitter, pencils, beads, tonsofpaper, etc.

I wasn’t into giving her lessons, per the wisdom of Raymund Moore, who recommends that serious pursuits that require lessons start around 10 or so. She is nine, but Vitaliy downloaded a few online art lessons where the guy is talking and drawing and you draw along with him. She’s pretty awesome at it!



You know that learned panicky feeling when you realize that you’ve not heard your child for an extended period of time? So I realized I hadn’t heard the kids for a while, I went to the bedroom, and the girls were working on the computer and doing art, and I went back to the kitchen. Then I realized it was still quiet and I hadn’t seen Andre, so I went back to the bedroom and asked where he was. The girls didn’t know. … Panic. … And here he was:


He’d put himself to sleep.

Then I wanted to share a small cooking tip I have really enjoyed knowing. It’s about making crepes / blini. Well, I will say first that getting a blini pan is awesome. But how to pour in and swirl around the right amount of batter? this rather baffled me. Until I took some cooking lessons at smartkitchen.com. They showed this trick of pouring in the runny batter, swirling it around the pan, then just pouring off the extra, back into the bowl of batter. I never would’ve thought of that on my own. They come out nice and thin, in a good way!

pouring extra batter back off into the batter bowl. And buy a  crepe pan! Nothing burns on it, and ... I need that ;)

pouring extra batter back off into the batter bowl. And buy a crepe pan! Nothing burns on it, and … I need that 😉

My life is full of cooking and food at this time 🙂

Here’s betok (chicken breasts covered in a mayo/egg/flour batter), and buckwheat with fried carrots and onions.



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I had an interesting experience this morning that I want to record. I want to keep it in mind as these years go by.

To preface this, I will say that I tell myself I will NOT miss this time in my life. You know. Small kids. The list of things I will not miss is endless. I will mention one: I remember one day wanting to sit at the kitchen table and read something. And looking at the table, with all the crumbs, sticky jelly, spilled stuff, whatever without end. And thinking, Oh for the day I will be able clean the table and then come back and it’s still clean.

This morning, I awoke in the darkness, the grey light was hardly starting to seep through the blinds. I was laying feeding Una on one side, then flipping over to Andre on the other side (tandem nursing). And in that mysterious sleep-wake period, an imagination came to me, that my room was empty of children–they had grown and gone away–and Vika (somewhere) was getting married. … And I felt lonely.




And I realized that all the elder ladies telling me “you will miss it” are right. I will miss it. I’ll miss the crowded life. I’ll look back with nostalgia. I’ll wish I had my kids around me again, little.

Though I have vehemently denied to myself for years that this would ever be possible. Who would miss this?

I got up, I was not the first one up– my reader was in the bathroom (warm floor) reading her book. I got some tea, sat at the table to read my Bible. And my kids started waking up, as they always do when mom is not nearby. The girls started their currently-popular shooting with their plastic thingy (English word escaping me–what David killed Goliath with), and they spoke too loud in the early morning and I had to keep shushing them.  And Andre woke up and wanted to breastfeed when I would rather journal.

And I didn’t mind it all, because I had tasted the loneliness coming.

But I wasn’t living the lesson either. All my sounds and word to them were just telling them to be quieter and … just not the love and thankfulness I was feeling in my heart. So I stopped myself and hugged my girls and told them I love them.

And I was getting grumpy with some things Vitaliy started asking of me when I wanted to dink around online, and I stopped the grumpiness up short, because … that loneliness will come too.

I know that as my kids grow, my life will fill back up with some other things, but … those other things will never be the nearness of raising your own kids.

So, the point is. This childrearing gig is getting fun-er and ever fuller. And I can see how I’ll miss it all one day, even when it can be so irritating at points now. Which was something I could never before imagine.

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a smattering of photos

daddy bought the boy a remote-controlled car

daddy bought the boy a remote-controlled car

Vika loves to read and she photo’ed her book and cup.


Funnily, I also photo’ed my current Christmas-y book, too!


Daddy took the kids out sledding / skiing…



We have blackouts each evening at 6pm for an hour or so, to save electricity. So we’ve made friends with large flashlights and candles. It’s quite fun when one is prepared.


Our advent Santa– we try to hide things in the daily pockets…


Vika is best with Una, of all the kids, though they all love on her sweetly. Even Andre kisses and hugs her and gives her things.


A card for daddy from the artist child 🙂



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