Thursday, May 28, 2015

Conference photos

They announced that the professional photographers' pictures from the conference will be available in three weeks. Our few photos might be online before then. The one above is my favorite.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Nice neighbors

We're back from a very wonderful conference and very difficult trip. Yesterday, just after we had arrived and while we were all lying around, trying to recover, Bogdan was outside running around. (He slept on the Odessa to Nikolaev leg of the trip.) He came in and told me, "Babushka Olga is here." I asked him if she was just there outside, or if she was actually asking for me. He insisted that she wanted to see me. So, I went out to talk to her. No, she hadn't called me, but she said that since I was out there, why not cut some peonies for me? And now those peonies are sitting by me here, where I can smell them as I write.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Family Day

We're leaving this afternoon for a week near Rovno. It's time for this year's Agape School students to graduate, and then there will be an Agape conference there, too. So, we'll "see" you in a week.

Before leaving, I did get photos from the Family Day uploaded. I wrote more about this event last year. Oh, one thing has changed since then. It's now held in the Park Formerly Known As Lenin. Also, Asya has grown so much since last year! I didn't let her go with the choir last year, because she just seemed too little (and she had a bit of a sore throat). This year I didn't think anything of sending her off at 9:00 for art school, class photos, and choir practice, telling her that we'd meet up at 3:00 in the park.

Raia's picture of her "Ukrainian" family
The mayor of Kherson voting in the art contest
(photo from the art school's page)
Asya the Flag and her entry in "My Ukrainian Family"
Children's choir
Our church's clowns
Watching the clowns
Some of the spectators
The adult choir
Ice cream!
Face painting!

Bocci ball! (I think that's what it's called?)
And Bogdan's buddy!
Jaan was there, but he spent most of the time with his friend from another church, so he didn't end up in any of my photos.

It looks like last year my blog post right before Family Day was about the local Bible institute's Missionary Day. That was great again this year! Photos are here, including a beautiful one of Asya.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Crimean Tatars

Yesterday was sad the anniversary of their deportation, not a day that I would have noticed a year ago. Now I know.

We love our neighbors, and we have so enjoyed getting to know a bit of their culture since they moved here last year. Right now, they're visiting relatives back in Crimea, but three of their friends are still here in the other half of our house. One is a younger woman who has seemed so shy that she's almost afraid of us. Yesterday she came to get me, though, because the washing machine was "acting strange." She's never used one before coming here, so she was baffled and terrified that she had broken it. Hopefully she won't be so scared of me, now that we've spent time together, lying on the bathroom floor, feeling around the insides of an ancient washing machine, looking for its filter.

At times I think it's a little funny that we get to be part of introducing them to Ukrainian culture and sometimes to city life, but maybe that makes sense, since we're foreigners, too?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Recent photos

School time
One garden helper
The same school readings in both languages

"Lollipop radishes"
Another garden helper
Matching shoes for church

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Easter photos

I only posted one quick photo after my favorite holiday of the whole year. Here are more:

All the candles lit again
I wish I could have gotten a picture of Bogdan's face when he came out and saw the candles and heard the music. I tried to stage a photo after the fact, but he said that he could only do it once. He was so excited and so cute, though.

I had fun with natural dye this year.
Explaining the empty tomb to Bogdan
Waiting for breakfast
Христос воскрес!
"It's pink inside!"
"And mine is yellow."
The girls went to church early.
And then the rest of us followed.
At church (both girls are up there)
Afterwards we took some photos, and then home again...
A special dinner guest?
He wanted kulich before dinner.
After we ate, we rested a little, and then we were going to go to a park, but instead we waited an hour for a bus that never came. Everyone was still tired and very out of sorts, though, so we ended up just going back home. But, the next morning we went to the park and had a wonderful time, so there was a happy ending anyway.

We had a wonderful day celebrating Christ's resurrection!

Friday, May 08, 2015


Last Friday the girls and I made snickerdoodles to get ready for the plein air. One of our babushka neighbors had been helping Jaan outside with our trees, so when the cookies were ready, Asya ran a plate out to her. By then, all the babushki were sitting around chatting, so they all sampled. Before long, an edict went out that I needed to translate and share the recipe. It was pretty much the same scene the next day, when we shared the cookies around. If it turns out that all of Kherson starts making snickerdoodles, you can blame us.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

"En plein air"

On Saturday the girls and I went to an outdoor painting session and picnic with their art school. We had so much fun! The art school's photos are here, and these are ours:

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

A theme?

On the second day of writing quick notes, I think I see a theme: "I planned..., but...." We did have another lovely morning of school. Then we came in. I had planned to use quiet time to work on turning my rough notes from Saturday's board meeting (exciting stuff! starting to build homes for kids who grow out of Tsyurupinsk orphanage) into real meeting minutes. However, our power is off, so I "had to" read instead. It's a hard life. And I did more school with Raia, since she came back from her balalaika lesson, begging for me to read to her.

By the way, I wrote this on my Kindle. He protested, but eventually cooperated.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Need to write

I need to write more. For myself, if nothing else. Lately I haven't had time to think one thought after another in order, and when I do sit down to write, I get distracted by uploading photos or something. I think I'll try to write little bits more often, sometimes without photos.

So, I'll start with today....
I had planned on a regular school day, even though today is officially a holiday. But, even though it's a holiday, Jaan and Raia both had a lot going on with music school. Jaan was actually double scheduled this morning, with a piano lesson and preparation for an upcoming contest both set at overlapping times. It turned out that while the older two were busy with music school homework and then heading off to classes, Asya and Bogdan and I had a great morning of regular school. We sat outside under the cherry tree, read, narrated, drew, and Bogdan wrote his name by himself for the first time ever!