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Showing posts from August, 2013

12 months and beyond

David is growing in leaps and bounds. I know that probably sounds cliche as they change so much day-to-day. But he really is transitioning in major ways. One thing is that he is more "teachable" in that we can show him how to do certain things (intentionally or not) and he repeats them. He's waving, "snapping" his fingers, and using certain tools. He takes laundry out of the washing machine and puts it back in. He takes lids off containers and tries to put them back on. He takes his socks off and mimics fastening and unfastening velcro straps. Etc., etc...

Though not walking around freely yet like some of his peers, David is a VERY interactive child. He is always aware if someone new has entered the room and he "yells" at him/her until he gets a greeting. When he is proud of himself, he looks around and makes eye contact with EACH person to make sure everyone is looking and praising. He adores having little "conversations" with people even i…

New Beginnings (5 a.m. musings)

As I lie in bed unable to sleep, I scroll through the faces of everyone that we saw this summer, to set them in my memory. Sometimes we sleep 3 (2 1/2?) to a bed here at a certain someone's request, and one or more of us may be snoring. We didn't get to see all of them-all of you-this summer. And a few encounters were quite brief, maybe from across a room. But I still think of you.

I know we've been away a long time because I have forgotten where we keep things. I had to scramble around looking for bedding on our first night back. My wardrobe seems to be filled with summer clothes-only, and David's are all too small. I am excited to do some home improvement projects, though I don't know when exactly it will work out. I have a whole new blueprint for the my head. ;)

There are things I want to do with David this year that I couldn't last year, because I was in a different place emotionally and physically. I want to go on walks with him more regularl…

A "Christian" wedding reception

How does one go about planning a wedding celebration among church-goers? Should there be alcohol or not? What about dancing? If dancing is to be included, then what kind of music should be allowed? If there won't be dancing, then how should the guests be entertained? And do they need entertainment?

While pondering this question, Andrei and I thought about some types of weddings that we weren't particularly excited about (though we understand elements of them can be fun for other people).

-Typical Russian: lots of entertainment, with skits (depicting how the couple met, etc.), drinking, dancing, stealing the bride, having a fight, and other merry-making.

-Russian Protestant Christian version: Games are kept g-rated: tug of war, jousting with balloons, Bible trivia, giggles about what the offspring will look like or how they will divide chores.

"I'm looking for a volunteer": words that strike fear in the hearts of many mild-mannered wedding guests. Will they be dr…

More entertaining

When I published the last post, I felt something nagging me.

I realized that it was the part where I divided people (potential objects of hospitality) into "brothers and sisters" and "strangers."

The problem is that for many people these groups may BOTH be made up of strangers. Are you close to people in your church, or do you find it hard to get to know people? Maybe the potential is there, but you've recently joined a new church.

I found myself going back to the passage and wondering about the context. How well did the people in that particular church know each other? And if Paul says "keep on loving each other," does that mean they're already good at it, or just that it's to be a continuous goal?

I guess we're not really off the hook here, because it doesn't say to love other Christians once we've gotten to know them and decide we like them, it just says to keep on loving them.

As for the strangers, is it safe to say that they …

Entertaining thoughts

"Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers..." -Hebrews 13:1, 2a
A really elementary observation of this passage that our pastor pointed out today is that we are called to love 1) our brothers and sisters in Christ (philadelphia) AND 2) people we don't know (philoxenia). So we have a constant calling to care for our close friends and care for people who don't mean anything to us yet, at the same time. I think this is a good summary of the challenge to managing our social lives.

Whom do I personally prefer to spend time with? I think it's typical for people to feel comfortable with those they already know, rather than expending energy on getting to know new ones.

But to say entertaining one group or the other is easier or harder oversimplifies human relationships. Close friends, relatives, and especially fellow church-goers may be downright difficult to please at times!

In addition, our family has been di…

Rejoicing and coping

I'm always amazed when I'm at a doctor's appointment or filling out paperwork related to David and someone congratulates me. For example, being at the dentist and the ladies saying "Awww, you have  a 13-month old?" Or when we went to the ENT last year to have David's tongue tie clipped and the surgeon said "Congratulations, you guys!" We were there to fix a minor medical problem and what she saw was a near-perfect newborn baby. That was her perspective.
In the middle of the most mundane (or even distressing) moments, people remind me that I have a CHILD. When we have to spend days or months renewing visas, we don't always remember that...oh yeah, there's a reason for all this...and he's pretty adorable! When I'm boarding a plane with the little rascalnoisemaker cutie, I might have a pretty tiring journey ahead of me, but look at all those smiling faces admiring his chubby cheeks and toothy grin.
That is one perspective: in the midst…

Ex-pat Life

We were going through Immigration/Customs control in Boston, and I had written "U.S.A." as my place of residence. But after interviewing us, the Customs officer said, "okay, just cross that out and write Russia next to it." Gulp.

I know I live in Russia, but I'm not Russian. And they'll never give me citizenship. I don't know if Andrei will ever get U.S. citizenship. I always write U.S.A. as my permanent address. I'm supposed to be granted permanent residency in Russia in the fall, but I still want the U.S. address. I know it's probably weird for Andrei and me to have different addresses, though.

I think part of it is always feeling like a second-class citizen in Russia. I feel like a real person with rights in the U.S., even while living/working abroad.

BUT...even that has its limitations. It gets sort of complicated with things like healthcare, having part of it happen here and part of it there. Bank accounts here and there, tax declarations …