Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday Evening Post, issue 14

(Oops. The internet went out just after I finished writing this, so I can't post it right away.)

A photo from this week:

Happy birthday to Jesus!

Jaan... lost another tooth. We caught this one. It came out while brushing teeth before bed.

Raia... has really enjoyed helping with everything this week: making cookies, cleaning up, keeping Asya busy, practicing and preparing for church events.

Asya... decided that maybe she's not such a big girl after all. Even with all the practicing beforehand, when she got up in front of everyone to say her part of the poem, she couldn't do it. She just flopped down on the ground and then spent a long while recovering with her beloved Alina.

Baby... has done my back in. Ouch! I really don't have anything to complain about this pregnancy, but now my back is really aching.

Will... did a great job with the tea at church! That was just the start of the Christmas season here, so please keep praying for him.

School this week: We caught up in four days and enjoyed it; now we're done with Week 15. Friday we baked and prepared for the tea at church instead of doing school.

My books and knitting: I hardly remember reading this week. Too bad! I have kept working on my November afghan square, and I'm actually almost done with it. It is by far the hardest one yet, but it's pretty.

A quote:
To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude. This solitude requires not only courage but also a strong faith. As hard as it is to believe that the dry desolate desert can yield endless varieties of flowers, it is equally hard to imagine that our loneliness is hiding unknown beauty.
--Henri Nouwen
(Thanks, Julie W.!)

Weather and nature observations: Sigh. Rain and mud. I grew up without white Christmases, but I sure miss them now! The sun did come out off and on, and I enjoy that, of course. We went for a Christmas walk all together yesterday morning, and just before we came in, the sun broke through at the end of a rain shower. We were all soaked, but the sparkling wet view was worth it.

Advent this week... finished well. The photos here are from Wednesday night, when we made "Resurrection buns," which were a big highlight. Now we head into the Christmas season, celebrating Jesus' birthday as much as we can.

Other news, ministry, notes and miscellaneous from the week: I'll try to do a separate post about the Christmas Eve tea at church, our wonderful family Christmas day, other events and plans.

On this date in. . . 2005: I wrote about how the holiday schedule works out in our family and church life. It's still quite similar now.

holy experience

Just a few things I'm thankful for...
  • Christ's birth!
  • fun in Sunday school
  • Asya, making Christmas cookies and giggling with joy over each one
  • our silly cat, sneaking sugar out of a jar with his paw; he looked like Winnie the Pooh, dipping into his honey jar
  • Christmas carols, especially the traditional Ukrainian carols
  • spots of sunshine on Christmas day
  • new (to us) birds and pheasants in the park during our Christmas walk
My question for you: How was your Christmas? Will you celebrate again with us on January 7th?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday Evening Post, issue 13

A photo from this week:

Jaan... is beginning to entertain himself with reading, really reading. I was sick and canceled school one day, so he read instead. Also, he's going to be reading part of the Christmas story at church next week.

Raia... went out sledding one morning, by herself, before the rest of us were ready. Somehow she sledded into a concrete light post, so she's had some pretty fancy bruises on her cheek most of this week. I thought it looked like someone tried to draw a Russian flag on her face at first, but now it's faded.

Asya... is working on learning her first poem for church. At one of the Christmas services she'll say the beginning of it, then Raia and Jaan will recite the rest.

Baby... has a friend in Asya. She often wants me to turn or bend down so that she can talk to the baby. This morning, she climbed up onto the bench next to me at church, and said, "I want to sit by you, so that I can put my head on the pillow," and she patted my tummy to show what pillow she meant.

Will... is feeling the pressure of needing to plan and do everything for the Christmas season. We're going to have about three weeks straight of special events. Please be praying!

School this week: Hmm. I think this is the first time we haven't gotten through a week in the week I had planned for it. We'll be catching up a little next week.

My books: I noted down the suggestions you gave me last week (they look good!)....and then I started a Terry Pratchett book.

...and knitting: I started the November afghan square, and not just once. I've undone it and restarted three more times now! It's really hard to figure out the pattern and stay on track with this one.

Weather and nature observations: The snow lasted--and was beautiful!--until yesterday. Then the rain started. Now we have high wind, rain, and the sound of ice crashing down from the roofs. We put up bird feeders this week, but we haven't had many visitors yet. (Asya told me, "We're not waiting for visitors, Mama, we're waiting for BIRDS to come.")

Advent this week... was definitely full of joy! I didn't think of it when I was planning, but with reading about the life of Christ in order and having Joy be our third week, stories of His Passion come in Joy week. In a way, it's a strange combination, but in another way, it makes sense. "By His stripes, we are healed," and so we rejoice! Now we'll be thinking about PEACE: John 14:27.

Other news, ministry, notes and miscellaneous from the week: Jaan's piano teacher is in the hospital, so we have a little break from some lessons. Other than that...?

On this date in. . . 2006: interesting, I was talking about rain and snow then, too.

holy experience

Just a few things I'm thankful for...
  • the JOY of Advent
  • children showing mercy after justice is served
  • lots of quiet this week
  • Will working hard to protect that quiet time!
  • the flamingo that Asya saw while she was in Africa
My question for you: Can you describe your life right now in one word? (Thanks for another question idea, Mom!)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We love snow!

Snow is much more of a commodity here than it was in Russia, so we enjoy it all the more! Will took them sledding today, so I have a chance to post photos from when it was my turn yesterday.

Headed up the hill

And starting down

Oops! They lost Raia!

...but she caught up.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Evening Post, issue 12

A photo from this week:

American fish crackers!
("One of the best parts of Advent")

Jaan... apparently didn't know what a rehearsal is? He thought he had a choir concert yesterday morning. I got the girls ready and we went to the music school together, just to find out that the concert will be on the 24th. Jaan was only supposed to be there for a rehearsal!

Raia... had a big adventure this week. We had noticed a small lump on the underside of her chin. When we showed it to a doctor we know, he said that he wanted a surgeon friend of his to look at it. So, Friday, he took Raia (and Will) to the regional children's hospital in Zaporozhye. The surgeon decided that it was nothing to be concerned about, so Raia just had a big day in the city with Papa and her first ever McDonald's Happy Meal.

Asya... is the one "reading" the Advent poem for us every night now. So cute!

Baby... wants to have me on a newborn's schedule. A nap every few hours sounds great to me these days.

Will... is starting to work on Christmas preparations. (Remember Christmas is later here.) He's also finding the Wednesday night Bible study that he leads to be a real challenge. Instead of just the church youth like it used to be, it's now all ages, quite a few unsaved people, and a few rowdy children thrown in for good measure.

School this week: After a week off and then exams, we're now back to our usual schedule. It felt good to be back in the saddle.

My books: Well, I finished reading about the dolphins in space. Any suggestions of what should be next? Preferably available as a free ebook?

...and knitting: Here's the hat I mentioned last week. Since I finished it, I've just been working on other little things and ongoing projects, trying to hold off from starting right into baby pants.

Weather and nature observations: SNOW! Now it looks like winter out there. We love it!

Advent this week... has been somewhat, um, interesting. I'm really enjoying it. The girls are really soaking everything up. Will hasn't been able to be involved much. And then there was Jaan.... I couldn't figure out what to do with him. He couldn't seem to focus at all on what's important, and every evening was overshadowed by him fussing about something. After lots of praying for him, I decided that he wouldn't be involved in the treasure hunt anymore. He's now my helper. And it's wonderful to see him growing into that! The theme for the upcoming week is JOY: Luke 2:10.

Other news, ministry, notes and miscellaneous from the week: I can't think of anything more than what I've already written.

On this date in. . . 2005: Jaan was so little!

holy experience

Just a few things I'm thankful for...
  • a great first experience with doctors and hospitals for Raia
  • turkey
  • snow covering everything
  • ...and it looks like it will last for a while!
  • a son showing maturity
  • a big sister helping a littler one
  • the littler one taking everything in as if for the first time
My question for you: I asked above, what should I read next?

Monday, December 06, 2010

Look and listen archive

I'm archiving here what we looked at and listened to during Term 1. The current selections will be up on the Look and listen with us page. -->

Term 1
Artist: Albrecht Durer
Composer: Ludwig von Beethoven
Folk songs: Waltzing Matilda, Ай чу-чу (Russian), and Вийди, вийди, сонечко (Ukrainian)

The folk songs are the same throughout the term:

Hymns change monthly. Here are September's:
  • I Am Resolved (video and words, music to buy)
  • Любит лишь Христос безмерно (words, music downloaded from here)


Russian words


Russian words and video

And we'll spend two weeks on each piece of art and classical music.

Weeks 1-2


Weeks 3-4

Weeks 5-6

Weeks 7-8

Weeks 9-10

Weeks 11-12


*I changed these pictures for our family, and I've obviously chosen the Russian and Ukrainian songs on my own.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Sunday Evening Post, issue 11

A photo from this week:

Lighting the Advent candle

Jaan... wrote his first essay, all by himself. That sounds pretty impressive, and it was fun to watch, but the results weren't much. He was supposed to record an oral answer, but our webcam stopped working, so he asked me if he could type an answer. And he did! Four lines about Shakespeare.

Raia... is the one who's really memorizing the Advent verses and readings. Jaan's been doing some of the reading for us, but Raia actually knows what to say without looking.

Asya... spends all her free time pushing around a plastic tub of stuffed animals, her "babies" in their "stroller."

Baby... is waking me up at night with wild kicking and partying. We think this one will be our calmest child, because in our family the ones who move the most before they're born seem to be calmer after birth, and vice versa.

Will... made a trip to visit a friend, the homeless man who he took to a shelter in Zaporozhye a while ago.

School this week: The was our first "Exam Week." I think it went well, and we really enjoyed it. Jaan got to choose something to do (craft, baking, etc) every day after we were done with his questions, and Raia joined us for that part each day. Other than that, she had a week off from school.

My books: Since I finished my big, serious book, Will gave me something else, science fiction about spacefaring dolphins. Hmm. At least it's different.

...and knitting: My cutest knitting project ever! I also finished a matching hat, but I'll have to show you that later.

Weather and nature observations: We did get our first little bit of snow. It all melted after a few days, though, and now we have rain, fog and mud. One evening we went for a walk in the fog. That was a treat!

Advent this week: It hasn't been perfect. I think we've had tears over something or another every evening, but it has been wonderful. We're treasuring Jesus and His words in a quiet candlelit time each night and preparing to celebrate His birth. Last week we focused on Hope, this week we're moving on to LOVE: 1 John 4:10.

Other news, ministry, notes and miscellaneous from the week: Maybe it isn't nice to talk about this, but--we had our kitty neutered this week. That didn't go very smoothly, and it seemed like we spent several days just focused on taking care of him afterwards. He's okay now, though.

On this date in. . . 2006: Advent, plus some.

holy experience

Just a few things I'm thankful for...
  • first snow
  • Asya telling Papa about Advent each night
  • Jesus!
  • rays of light from the street lamps, coming through the fog
  • a new school term, ready to start tomorrow
My question for you: Do you enjoy foggy days? (I enjoy the quiet that seems to come with them.)

Friday, December 03, 2010

A glimpse of Advent joy

"Here's a smile! A smile usually expresses happiness. Jesus gave us many instructions to keep us happy."
--preschool Advent list

Иисус начал говорить людям о Царстве Божием. Он возвещал Радостную Весть о том, что спасение от зла близко. Что теперь все могут стать Божиими детьми. Что Бог любит каждого человека.
--Свет Миру, Александр Мень

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Advent 2010

Before you read anything here, please go read this classic post by Ann Voskamp. (I'm so excited that she's giving out a new Advent book! Next year....)

There. Now that you're in the right mood, I'll tell about my plans (plans! not necessarily reality) for this year.

Year by year we alternate back and forth between a Jesse Tree--Jesus throughout the whole Bible--or the life of Christ. This year is Jesus' life on earth. In the past, I've used a preschool list (scroll down there), that seems just perfect for the amazing 2-3 age, and I am looking forward to seeing how Asya responds to that this year. However, I was also wanting to raise the level a little for the older members of our family. So, I'm combining the treasure hunt list with reading a book by Aleksandr Men' about the Light of the World.* It doesn't correlate perfectly, and I'm still in the process of working it out, but it will come together. That will be every night of our Advent season.

For each week, we'll be lighting a new candle on a traditional Advent wreath, reading a poem and a verse, and singing. The theme for the first week is Hope, and our verse is Romans 15:12. Of course, we'll light the candle(s) every night, even though we only add a new one every Sunday. We like candles! Here's the poem we're reading:
Адвент наступает,
радость близка,
вот светит первая свеча,
пророк возвещает
людям в миру:
«Путь приготовьте Господу».
Радуйтесь, люди,
воспойте все —
Богу честь на земле!

Адвент наступает,
радость близка,
вот светит нам вторая свеча,
прощайте друг друга —
это любовь,
Так завещал Бог Саваоф.
Радуйтесь, люди,
воспойте все —
Богу честь на земле!

Адвент наступает,
радость близка,
вот светит третья нам свеча,
исполнитесь все
святой добротой,
чтоб обновился лик земной.
Радуйтесь, люди,
воспойте все —
Богу честь на земле!

Адвент наступает,
радость близка,
светит свеча четвёртая,
придет, не замедлит,
Сам Господь Бог,
о человек, прими Его.
Радуйтесь, люди,
воспойте все —
Богу честь на земле!
(I found it on a Catholic site last year, and I think it's actually a hymn.)

For the other weeks, we'll have themes of Love (1 John 4:10), Joy (still need to choose verse), and Peace (John 14:27). Does anyone know of a child-friendly Advent poem in English?

And, of course, we'll be getting a present for Jesus!

Also, here are links to our previous Advents:
I really enjoyed looking through them, and I hope to add labels soon for the years before those, too.

(*I almost hate to post this, because the actual book is so beautiful, but if you want to read along with us--in Russian--here is just the text. I'll just say it again, you're really missing out if you don't have the beautiful illustrations.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

One photo

Before I get to posting Odessa photos, I'll put the castle photos up. Notice anything in this one?

The rest are here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Evening Post, issue 10

A photo from this week:

In Odessa

This week I'll ask what was their favorite part of our trip to Odessa. In their own words....
Jaan: "The dolphins!"

Raia: "I liked playing with the African uncle." (He was one of the Thanksgiving guests.)

Asya: "Umm... Jesus." (?)

Will: "I enjoyed not having to do anything."

School this week: Thanksgiving break!

My books and knitting: I finished Kristin Lavransdatter. That was more than 1000 pages of plain good writing. I thoroughly enjoyed it. But I didn't make it to the yarn store in Odessa. We were all just too tired from all the other fun there.

Weather and nature observations: More rainy and foggy again. I see snow on the forecast for the upcoming week! Jaan already mentioned our best nature observation of the past week: DOLPHINS. We saw a pod of dolphins in the Odessa port, and had a great time watching them swim around. I didn't even know there are dolphins in the Black Sea before we sighted them.

Advent this week: It's starting! This is the first evening of Advent. (And I'm not really sitting at the computer writing now. I wrote this during nap time, to post automatically in the evening, while we gather as a family to prepare.) This year we'll be reading about the life of Christ, and this week we also focus on HOPE.

Other news, ministry, notes and miscellaneous from the week: We were gone most of the week, visiting Will's sister in Odessa. What a wonderful time! We had forgotten how long and exhausting that trip is, but it was worth it. Wednesday evening we celebrated Thanksgiving with students Anna works with and her roommates. It was great to have all the traditional foods and get to meet so many wonderful new friends. We arrived back here Thursday; tried to spend Friday recovering; Saturday Will went to a youth conference with a group from here. And we're still tired now.

On this date in. . . 2005, 2006, and 2007: a wordy day of the year, it seems.

holy experience

Just a few things I'm thankful for...
  • HOME!
  • fun times in Odessa
  • great hostesses there
  • the incredible sunset we saw from the train
  • an end to the fussy day yesterday
  • the beginning of Advent

My question for you: What are your Advent plans? (I'll try to write more about what we're doing soon.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Evening Post, issue 9

(I'm setting this to post automatically while we're on our Thanksgiving trip to visit Anna in Odessa.)

A photo from this week:

Our weird cat's favorite way to sleep
(I didn't take many photos at all over the past week.)

Jaan... has been playing the piano a lot lately! It seems a little strange to me, but his teacher has encouraged me not to make him practice. (Is she really Russian?) And when I don't, he sits down at the piano by himself to play his assigned songs and his own compostions.

Raia: I asked Raia what to say about her this week. She replied, "Tell them that I study at home when Asya sleeps." You may already know that, but it's very important to her!

Asya... is a little confused about this trip to Odessa, but very excited. I think the last time we saw Anna was in Poland. Asya understands that she won't see Clarissa (who lives in Poland) this time, but she keeps saying that we're going to Poland to see Anna and feed the swans. She's been pushing her dolls and stuffed animals around in a box, saying that they're on the train to Poland all week.

Will... has been busy this week, but I can't think of anything out of the ordinary that has happened for him. He has spent a lot of time getting us ready to travel to Odessa, buying tickets and such.

School this week: We finished the first term! Also, coincidentally, we finished the Reception level of math. Now Jaan's in MEP, Year 1.

My books and knitting... are still there? I'm afraid I've been neglecting them.

Weather and nature observations: Maybe it's starting to get cooler? We've enjoyed watching the birds out our windows, now that the trees are bare. The jays and woodpeckers are either much more active, or just more visible now.

Other news, ministry, notes and miscellaneous from the week: 'Tis the season for youth conferences! I think there were three going on this weekend and next. Will chose one, and he's getting a group together to attend that when we get back from Odessa. Also, Wednesday night Bible studies are becoming a challenge for Will, because they're evolving from a church youth fellowship time, into something that spans all ages and levels from unbelievers to older Christians. It's good, but--like I said--a challenge.

On this date in. . . 2005: I posted three great photos of Baby Raia and Jaan. In 2006, I wrote about their Thanksgiving crafts.

holy experience

Just a few things I'm thankful for...
  • Thanksgiving Day!
  • traveling as a family
  • eggs for breakfast, prepared by Will
  • the quiet of November days
  • a bright sunrise

My question for you (an easy one!): What are five things that you're thankful for?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Evening Post, issue 8

A photo from this week:

At Popov Castle and Museum

Jaan... really enjoyed the museum! It was tiny, but perfect for our age range and attention spans. There were rooms with old farming implements, the history of the castle, local art, local archeological finds and war memorabilia. Now Jaan is obsessed with trying to find arrowheads or the right kinds of rocks to make them. Then, there was plenty of time to explore. Most of the castle has been destroyed, but the stables are still there, and Jaan especially climbed all over.

Raia... liked the museum, too. At one point during the little tour, I took Asya out for a break and a snack. I had Raia come along, just because, and she could barely stand it: "They'll tour the war room without me!"

Asya... made a new friend. She loved Joy, who was here with Daniel. Asya would have happily followed Joy back to New Zealand.

Will: This is close to what I said last week, but the best part of the week for Will was having Daniel and Joy here.

School this week: We finished Week 11. It seems like we're slowing down a little, but I guess that's natural as we reach the end of the term. Plus, we've just been busy with other things. Hopefully we can finish our term strong this week, and then we'll take a little break.

My books and knitting: Almost done reading about Kristin Lavransdatter. I'll miss her when I'm finally done. I started knitting a fun little project, but I'll wait until it's done to show you. Of course, I keep working on my pretty lace shawl/scarf.

Weather and nature observations: Still warm, sunny, beautiful!

Other news, ministry, notes and miscellaneous from the week: There were two big highlights this week, friends visiting from New Zealand, and a field trip to a castle in Vasilevka with church friends. We had a great, though short, time with Daniel and Joy. (Did you see the photos?) And yesterday we went to the castle and little museum; I'll try to post photos from that trip soon, too. Oh, I had 19 (!) children in Sunday school this morning, and Jaan and Will also went out to visit a village church with the choir after church here. They're still not back from that.

On this date in. . . 2005: Will actually wrote. He had just started the youth club in Kovrov.

Just a few things I'm thankful for...holy experience
  • 19 children in Sunday school
  • ...and Alina's help with them
  • guests from (very) far away
  • a castle not far from here
  • perfect weather for an outing
  • friends to go on a field trip with us
  • emails from old friends (Caryn! I will answer....)

My question for you: What was (were) the highlight(s) of your week?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Daniel and Will

Will's old friend, Daniel, visited us for just a few days. The photo above is of them together in Moscow in 1997 (?). Below is how they look now. And here are a few more photos from our time together.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sunday Evening Post, issue 7

A photo from this week:

Jaan: Remember I wrote about the pressure he was feeling at music school? I think my prayers about that have been answered! He has four lessons a week: two individual sessions with his piano teacher and two group classes with other teachers. He loves his piano teacher; it is the other teachers and classes that are hard. Well, this week I asked Alina to come help him with his homework for those classes. She prepared him so well that he went in confident and came out happy. The really strict teacher even commented to me that "he's finally stopped being shy!"

Raia... has just been really sweet and huggy this week. She's always so active that sometimes it's hard to stop her for even a moment. I've enjoyed that she's stopping on her own a little more recently, wanting just to sit with me, or try crocheting again, or anything along those line. And she's still managing to keep up her usual activity level, along with the quieter moments.

Asya... has figured out scissors. I'm always amazed watching children develop, but I was really surprised to note that she was cutting out shapes deliberately, right along the lines this week. Creative coloring book use: cut them up, and glue them back together differently. She'll do that for an hour straight these days.

Will... has a friend visiting! His old friend Daniel from New Zealand arrived early yesterday morning. Will went to Dneptropetrosk to meet him and spend some time there with another friend, too. They're coming here tonight.

School this week: Week 10 done! I'm just enjoying this so much.

My books and knitting: Nothing new.

Weather and nature observations: It's warm again. Strange, but nice.

Other news, ministry, notes and miscellaneous from the week: This was a really exhausting week. At this point, I hardly know how to describe it, but I'm glad it's over.

On this date in. . . 2007: I finally got our "summer" prayer letter posted. Hmm. I don't think I've done that yet this year.

Just a few things I'm thankful for...holy experience
  • bright colors and sunshine
  • rest!
  • Alina
  • knitting outside in November!
  • pumpkin stew

My question for you: What is God teaching you these days?
(And again, thank you so much for your answers! I love the comments and emails that I'm getting!)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Evening Post, issue 6

A photo from this week:

Tea party

has actually been drawing this week. Maybe the change toward cooler weather is making him want to settle down to indoor pursuits? Raia will spend hours filling papers with her creations, but Jaan's usually not interested.

Raia... has moved on in her art skills. After a long stretch of nothing but people and flowers, she drew a great person on a horse this week. And she discovered that she loves modeling clay.

Asya... talks non-stop. How did one family end up with THREE children who all love to talk? Aren't there usually some quiet ones thrown into the mix? Oh, well! I love to hear her sharing her thoughts and asking questions.

Will... got the new speakers in and set up, and they sounded great this morning. The babushki could hear! His head is clearing up, too.

School this week: Week 9 already? The weeks are flying by! More Shakespeare this week, and overall just a good, full week.

My books and knitting: I finished my October square, but I think it's not quite square enough, so I'm going to go back and add another repeat. I'm finding my ongoing shawl project to be very fun and relaxing, too. Reading The Tempest, along with other books....

A quote:
[On hearing that she can start praying now for God to send her a good future husband.] "Oh, He keeps the good ones in heaven?"

Weather and nature observations:
We've had the first bits of frost, I guess. Not much yet, but the days are slowly getting cooler. One evening we went for a walk and saw an owl, pretty close up!

Other news, ministry, notes and miscellaneous from the week: Last night we had the youth meeting here. Other than that, I'm drawing a blank.

On this date in. . . 2005: I posted a photo of the "washing machine" we used back then. We got our first automatic washing machine around the time Asya was born.

Just a few things I'm thankful for...holy experience
  • washing machines
  • Jaan following along in church, reading the Bible by himself!
  • fall days
  • family time, working with modeling clay all together
  • Skype chats with Julie

My question for you: What are you reading now?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Morning Post

A photo from this week:

The Singing Men of Texas!

Jaan... finally lost that tooth. And he really lost it. We have no idea when or where. It just disappeared. He noticed on our way out the door to church. There's not much of a hole, because his adult tooth had grown up behind it.


...after the concert in Zaporozhye.
That's how she fell asleep, listening to the new CD from the choir. It was such a typical Raia pose, that I took a photo. Ever since she stopped sucking her finger, she has gone to sleep every night like a solider standing at attention.

Asya... was the only child in our family who managed not to get sick this week. Good for her! I did stop her from eating yogurt after Jaan, because I was worried about her picking up germs that he had left behind. She looked into the yogurt, and said, "Why didn't he eat up all the germs?" (You got a photo of her last week.)

Will... has been researching sound equipment and working on getting speakers for the church here. He went to Zaporozhye, found and ordered what was needed. It should be arriving today or tomorrow.

School this week: We finished Week 8. Jaan is loving Benjamin Franklin, and Raia is doing better with reading just once or twice a week. (She has other activities for her special 15 minutes of school on other days.) We had to take a sick day and skip two music lessons, but that was actually kind of nice for once.

My books: I feel like I miss Kristin Lavransdatter and her family, but I have been preferring Kindle books over that paper book with 1000+ pages. So, it's been George MacDonald and Shakespeare for me this week.

...and knitting: I started over on my October square, just because I liked it so much that I wanted it to be perfect.

A quote:
Not what I think, but what thou [God] art, makes sure.
--George MacDonald, The Diary of an Old Soul

Weather and nature observations: More clear, sunny and beautiful! Although, we have had some rain this week, too. The leaves right around here are mostly fallen, but our trip to Zaporozhye yesterday was still just lovely.

Other news, ministry, notes and miscellaneous from the week: We went to two concerts in one weekend! And I can hardly even remember the last time we went to a concert before this. Saturday night a Christian musician from Kiev was here, right in Dneprorudnoe. We went to his little concert with the church youth. Really, his newer songs are not my style, but I liked the few he sang that I remembered from years ago. Then, last night we traveled to Zaporozhye with the choir from here (which you can hardly call a choir in comparison to what we saw there) to hear "The Singing Men of Texas." We all thoroughly enjoyed that! Well, except for Raia, who said that she would rather have stayed with Alina, and maybe Asya, who was much more fascinated with the chandelier than the music.

On this date in. . . 2005, Will's parents had just left, and we were enjoying a snow day.

Just a few things I'm thankful for...holy experience
  • fun concerts
  • a sick day that turned into a lovely rest day
  • sunshine! (Do I say that every week?)
  • Asya sweetly sleeping in the marshrutka (She's almost too big for that.)
  • Mondays when Will's home and we start into a new week
  • Ambleside Online

My question for you: What is the most beautiful image or place you have seen this week?
(Thanks, Mom, for the question idea!)