Thursday, September 30, 2010

Favorite September poems

We finished our September poems just a little early (because we started reading them while it was still August), so yesterday and today, we choose favorites and reread them. The favorites were, in English:
At The Zoo, by William Makepeace Thackeray, 1811-1868

First I saw the white bear, then I saw the black;
Then I saw the camel with a hump upon his back;
Then I saw the grey wolf, with mutton in his maw;
Then I saw the wombat waddle in the straw;
Then I saw the elephant a-waving of his trunk;
Then I saw the monkeys--mercy, how unpleasantly they smelt!

And in Russian:
ОСЕНЬЮ, Афанасий Фет

Когда сквозная паутина
Разносит нити ясных дней
И под окном у селянина
Далекий благовест слышней,

Мы не грустим, пугаясь снова
Дыханья близкого зимы,
А голос лета прожитого
Яснее понимаем мы.

I already mentioned which poem I liked best, but I'll just paste it in here, too:
September, by Helen Hunt Jackson, 1830-1885

The golden-rod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.

The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest,
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook,

From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer.

But none of all this beauty
Which floods the earth and air
Is unto me the secret
Which makes September fair.

'Tis a thing which I remember;
To name it thrills me yet:
One day of one September
I never can forget.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Evening Post

I have one friend who just started doing a "Weekly Wrap" on her blog. Another often does a "Sunday Evening Post." And then there are those blogs that have such pretty Daybooks. It's been hard for me to find time to write lately, so I'm going to try to get in a least a weekly post, something of a combination of all of the above, a summary of the week behind us.

Jaan this week: He has his first loose tooth!

Raia this week: It looks to me like her beloved reading are lessons are starting to click. She can combine two sounds now, which for some reason was a real roadblock for her at first.

Asya this week: She turned THREE! We celebrated with a special birthday dinner, where her beloved Alina was the guest of honor.

School this week: We finished Week 4, and we're loving every minute of it. I need to rethink what we're doing for reading practice....

My books and knitting: (I finally have time for hobbies, so maybe I'll write about them some. ) I'm really enjoying Sigrid Unset's Kristin Lavrensdatter trilogy. It's nice to have some serious reading going again. And all I have on my needles right now is an August afghan square that I didn't get finished in August.

Weather and nature observations: The weather has been just beautiful! I love this time of year. The very tops of the ash trees outside our windows have started turning yellow.

Other news, ministry, notes and miscellaneous from the week: The youth and children have been busy preparing for the harvest holiday, Zhatva, all week (month!). Then, today was the big holiday. And it was wonderful! The Sunday School children recited a "declamation," a visiting brass/folk orchestra played, there were lots of guests, all kinds of special music, and five sermons.

On this date in. . . 2005, I wrote about Zhatva in Viazniki. Fun pictures and wonderful memories! It still makes me a little sad to look, though, because I miss those people so much.
(In this section, I'll go back in the archives and see what was happening a few years ago.)

My question for you: What else would you like to see here each week? Or what isn't interesting and should go?

Friday, September 24, 2010


Asya hasn't moved to Poland. She hasn't had any babies, human or canine. But. . .

She's THREE!

She has her bear like Raia's.
(Thank you, Baba Julie!)

And she'll have cake and ice cream tonight.

Happy birthday to Asya!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Archiving quotes

I haven't picked up True Spirituality for a long time, so I'll move my quotes from it out of the sidebar. They're still worth keeping, of course!

"I am to love God enough to be contented. . . . When I lack proper contentment, I have forgotten that God is God. . . . A quiet disposition and a heart giving thanks is the real test of the extent to which we love and trust God."
--Francis Schaeffer in True Spirituality, Chapter 1

"Christ called his followers to take up the cross daily. True, we accept Christ as Savior once for all; we are justified, and our guilt is gone forever. But after that there is this daily, moment-by-moment aspect. The existentialist is right when he puts his emphasis on the reality of the moment-by-moment situation. He is wrong in many things, but he is right there."
--Francis Schaeffer in True Spirituality, Chapter 2

Monday, September 13, 2010

Foggy brain

holy experience

Hmm. Thanksgiving can definitely "lift the clouds," can it "clear the fog," too? I feel tired and brainless right now. I sat down to give thanks, and I can't seem to type coherently. Let's see how this goes....

397. A slow, quiet day
398. Homeschooling
399. Children playing together (They're supposedly traveling to Germany right now, but Asya says that she put Germany in her pocket....)
400. A nice, warm little cat who has spontaneously become very snuggly
401. Good instant coffee
402. A free evening for Will
403. A comfy place to sleep (It's calling my name.)

Well, I'm not sure I can list (had to look that word up in the dictionary, could only think of перечислять) without a brain, but I can still be thankful. I'll just be like in the old NTM aviation video where the pilot is escaping from the guerrillas, and with every step he says, "Thank you, Lord."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Changes over nine years

A friend of mine has been in Moscow for three years now. She posted a list of how it's changed her. That, and the fact that today is the nine-year anniversary of our move to Moscow, made me start thinking of how I've changed, too. I'll skip the obvious things, like the fact that I now have children, and list a few of the changes I see in myself. Although, really, I can hardly remember or notice many of them.
  • I'm more assertive.
  • I speak Russian WAY better.
  • I'm much less sensitive about personal comments and criticism. Things people say about my mothering that would have made me cry with Jaan, now just give me something to laugh about (later, not to their faces).
  • I'm more laid back.
  • I don't plan ahead any more.
  • I speak English more precisely and apparently with something of a British accent (?).
  • I can easily spout off the names of the English verb tenses and even give examples of them: Simple Past, Past Perfect, Past Perfect Continuous....
  • I thoroughly enjoy reading in Russian now.
  • The draft in our bedroom has been making my back ache the past few days (but it still doesn't make me sick!).
  • Again, I still wouldn't get sick from sitting on the ground, but I don't do it, and I feel shocked when I see an American plop down just anywhere.
  • I'll copy my friend and say, "I consider an electric kettle one of the most important kitchen appliances."
  • I can cook for Russian or American taste buds, and I generally know what people will eat and what is just too "exotic."
  • It feels very funny to me when I'm in an American church, and there's just one sermon.
  • I also have to hold myself back from greeting the other women with a kiss after church in America or American-style churches.
  • I honestly feel more at home in this culture than in the one I was born in.
  • For the last one, I'll copy again: "I’ve experienced God’s grace in so many beautiful ways."

Okay, that's all I can think of off the top of my head. I should ask Will how I've changed....

Friday, September 10, 2010

A memorable birthday

Jaan is 7 years old!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

"When I'm 3"

". . . I'll have cake and ice cream and a teddy bear like Raia's, and I'll live in a different country--probably Poland--and I'll give birth to a little baby and a puppy!"

Monday, September 06, 2010

A thankful day

We had a wonderful late summer (or early autumn?) dacha day today. I was just overflowing with thanks all day! I'm so thankful for all these things:

404. Will's home!
405. Beautiful sky
406. Beautiful weather
407. Harvest, even from a neglected garden
408. Grapes
409. Plums
410. Pears
411. Apples
412. Squash
413. Melons
414. Tomatoes still going
415. Great, big praying mantises and the giggles when they tickle
416. Flowers
417. An outdoor classroom
418. Jaan-bird's nest
419. Dirty faces
420. Shashlik!

(I might come back and add more photos to illustrate these, but not now.)

holy experience