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Showing posts from April, 2013

Out of Order

Since the ground has thawed in the city, workers have sprung to life, finishing projects that had been delayed all winter. In our building, this involved repainting the stairwell. I'm not sure why this had to occur in the spring, but it did. I often wonder what the system is as to prioritization.

So for a week or two we had the paint fumes, and we tried to do as much airing out of the flat as possible, without freezing ourselves and/or David.

When they were finished, they painted the elevator. The elevator is a tiny space with one dim lightbulb, so dark brown seemed like a strange paint color, although it did cover up graffiti nicely.

I tried summoning the elevator the other day when I was leaving for a meeting. It didn't come, and on my way home I found that it had been repainted a gray color, probably due to complaints about the dark brown. It smelled again, but there was hope that these projects were done.

The next afternoon, we came home from church and found the elevator…

A Visa Run (sort of) to Kiev

Why Kiev?

The week before last, we finally sat down to plan a trip out of the country. David's 6 months in Russia were coming to a close, and we had to at least cross the border and come back in to get new registration, though his visa is good for 3 years.

We were planning on visiting the Baltics again. However, when we sat down and looked at the calendar, we realized that once again we couldn't get Andrei a visa in time! What a nightmare! One factor that was different this time was that we didn't need to DO anything out of the country, we just needed to leave Russia, and this could be done in one day's time. Whereas last time we had avoided booking a hotel room because we needed a longer stay, this time we could just purchase a 1-2 day tour and get Andrei a tourist visa.

As it turned out, we still didn't have enough time, nor the necessary documents.

I thought about just getting to the closest border alone with David. I started trying to find out if any friends wo…

A Weekend in Kiev! (sneak peek with photos)

Some visuals from our latest adventure. As always, click to enlarge.

Grieving in April (trigger alert)

Well, that was a strange week. I'm sure a lot of you in the U.S. would agree. For me it was especially strange given the last topic I wrote about on here, BEFORE the Boston Marathon and subsequent events.
Late Monday evening (April 15th) Russian time before bed, I wrote this: He knows exactly what we are going through, and He has perfect, albeit mysterious, reasons, for allowing our loved ones to suffer and even die. So even though I grieve, I still affirm the perfect sovereignty of God's will.
But I didn't know how soon it would happen AGAIN. Literally a few minutes after I published the post, I went online and started seeing headlines about Boston. People were injured and possible killed; terrified and confused. And sad. 
I didn't know anyone present, and I don't have many ties to Boston, despite having been born and raised in Massachusetts. But it was upsetting that an inspiring, family-friendly tradition had been tarnished by bloodshed. While I had sat at my co…


A little context here: David opened the drawer, dove in, and helped himself to a snack. Apparently our work here is done; he can now fend for himself. ;)

Too Many Eulogies

I want to clarify about the title of this post. From a human perspective, everything feels "too hard." People we love often lose their lives "too early." There is "too much" tragedy around us...doesn't it seem like more than our fair ration?

Although God is compassionate and allows us to grieve, I also think of Psalm 139, verse 16: "...all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (NIV)

He knows exactly what we are going through, and He has perfect, albeit mysterious, reasons, for allowing our loved ones to suffer and even die. So even though I grieve, I still affirm the perfect sovereignty of God's will.

The Accident

A lot of you know what happened to the orphanage recently, but I will do a quick recap.

The orphanage that I visited for something like 8 years in a row had sent a group to another city for an excursion, during school vacation week.

On the way back, the bus was in a head-on collision…

Meet and Greet

Well, I got nominated for a blog award in which I am supposed to share some details about myself. I am also supposed to pass it on to someone else. I checked back to a post I wrote about the blogs I follow, and I think about 90% of them are now defunct, though there are still a few of you hanging in there!

Anyway, I do want to give a shout out to a new blog, authored by my sister, where she writes about "balancing family life and art." Lots of ideas for parenting toddlers. Check it out: Seeking to Create.

So, here are the questions from the blog award, with my answers.

11 "random" facts that you may or may not know about me
1)I'm an introvert! Let this serve as a warning that I'm horrible at introducing myself.

2)In third grade, I was nominated “future novelist.” I lied and said I knew what the word meant, and then finally I had to ask the teacher. I haven't written any novels, but in those days I suppose they couldn't have predicted that I'd b…

Lessons, Part 7

On becoming an instant expert...

Welcome to the club!

One of the most interesting (and positive, I suppose) things about starting a family is how excited OTHER people are for you.

It started before Andrei and I were even dating; friends (and family) being just desperate for me to get married. Not in a mean way like I was living a pathetic life. Just that they wanted to see me happy, in this particular area.

When we announced our engagement, I suppose single friends were just as happy for us as the marrieds. But what was interesting was that friends, already married, whom I hadn’t talked to in DECADES were suddenly “happy” for this new development in my life. Why do they finally come out of the woodwork when I’m getting married, and not getting a new job, or whatever? I think someone even said "now you're one of us!"

Well, I DO like being married. And now I do the same thing, drooling over other people’s engagement announcements and wedding photos. Not just when my friend…

To flee or not

I am still working on (reading) the Bonhoeffer biography. Lots of thoughts to slowly digest.

Right now I am at the part of his life where he is torn over whether or not he needs to be in Germany. Of course, as readers, we know how his life ends up.

Bonhoeffer did a lot of traveling, and could have escaped from Germany as the conflict was heating up. But when he did travel,-to America, for instance-he felt restless being away from Germany.

Journal entry from 13th June, 1939—The country house in Lakeville, Connecticut, is in the hills; fresh and luxuriant vegetation. In the evening thousands of fire-flies in the garden, like flying fire. I had never seen them before. Quite a fantastic sight. Very friendly and “informal” reception. All that’s missing is Germany, the brethren. The first lonely hours are hard. I do not understand why I am here, whether it was a sensible thing to do, whether the results will be worthwhile. In the evening, last of all, the readings and thoughts about work a…