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!)