Birthday bash

What a joy to celebrate Jim’s birthday (again) along with missionary friends Al and Alice. Alice turned 70 just two days before Jim’s birthday, and we finally found a time that the four of us could get together.

We ate at a Georgian restaurant not far from our flat — only two blocks away — so, for us, it was an early night. We’re still waiting to hear that our friends made it home to the other side of Kyiv.

Lord, thank you that you give us these delightful evenings to share special days with special friends. We pray that the four of us will have MANY more years to celebrate together!

And I pray that we will have as much love for life and as much energy as these two when we reach our 70s…what examples of humble servants of the living God.


Number 19

Hey, keep voting!

Kyiv has moved up to number 19 on the leader board — it needs to stay in the top 20 until the end of February to actually be listed on the new monopoly board. Every vote counts — and you can vote every day.

Go, Kyiv!

EDIT: Make that now number 17!!! Thanks for voting!


YEARS ago, I bought a set of snowmen salt and pepper shakers. I also purchased a sugar bowl and pitcher to match. And I still, to this day, just love them!

As soon as Thanksgiving is over and until March begins, I joyfully use them. They always bring a smile to my face. Always.

Obviously, actually using them comes with the possibility of breakage — to quote someone I know. And my poor sugar bowl lid has had way more than its fair share of breakage. The first few breaks I painstakingly glued the pieces back together. I even used black permanent marker to color in the black hat. And you ALMOST couldn’t tell that there was a break.

But over the years, and multiple breaks, it is clear that my snowman will never be the same. He actually is missing several pieces and I can see right through the lid in one place. Jim has patiently glued and reglued this silly lid. I even silently considered that if there might be one more break, I’d finally give it up.

Well, it broke again a few weeks ago. I heard the crash, but didn’t know exactly what had broken until Jamie came sheepishly into the living room…holding the pieces. And, for whatever reason, I couldn’t just say, “Pitch it.” I looked at it, I looked at Jamie, and he knew that he needed to retrieve as many pieces as possible. And, once again, Jim glued together all the fragments that they could find.

Frankly, I think it looks pretty good. And it probably has a few more good years left of faithful service!

The Parable of the Sower

Jim and I are continuing to read John Stott’s daily reflections: Through the Bible, through the year.

Today, our reading centered on the parable of the sower found in Luke 8:

“It is not difficult to imagine a first-century Palestinian farmer at seedtime. With a wicker basket balanced on his left hip, he walks up and down his field, scattering seed rhythmically with his strong right arm.

“To this parable Jesus added both his own explanation of it and his interpretative proverb: ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’ For Jesus was describing his own teaching ministry as he broadcast the seed of the Word of God, and it was met with different receptions. Its enemies were the birds that ate it (the devil), the sun that scorched it (temptation and tribulation), and the thorns that choked it (wealth and worldliness). But the message of the parable does not end there. It follows a clear pattern. Four times we read that some seed fell, meaning (again four times) that four groups all heard the Word of God (v. 11). The basic question is what they did with it when they heard it. What reception did they give it?

“Some give the Word no reception at all. It never penetrates their defenses. They have a closed mind and a hard heart. They are extremely vulnerable to the devil. Others give the Word a shallow reception. True, they receive it with initial enthusiasm. For a short period they seem to be believers. But the seed never takes root; there is rock underneath their soil. Consequently, when the fierce glare of the sun (temptation and persecution) beats upon them, their spiritual life shrivels up.

“Others give the Word a mixed reception. They receive the Word, but they receive other things in profusion as well; they can’t discern between what is worldly and what is godly. They pride themselves on keeping an open mind — so open that they can keep nothing in it or out of it. In the end, business, pleasure, and wealth, like thorns, choke their spiritual life.

“Yet others give the Word a wholehearted reception. They hold it fast and persevere. They give it priority. They nourish it. And it bears fruit.”

Lord, let my reception of your Word be wholehearted! And as I nourish the seed, may You cause it to bear fruit.

To Your glory.


I actually think that life might be returning to normal — or, as they say here, normMALna.

Jim and I are working on our newsletter — to go out tomorrow.

I am personally working on a new website. (Surely I jest, right? Me? Computer illiterate that I am?) There is power in a template! (Pray for me…)

Ukrainian lessons start up again tomorrow — Jim’s been back at Russian study for a couple of weeks already.

I was finally back at the hospital last week — 2 real characters there who are waiting for paperwork to be completed so that they may enter an orphanage.

I may actually get into a rhythm again — knowing SOMEWHAT what to expect on a given day.

The empty nest is relaxing! Not boring, mind you, but a different schedule.

Need to get back to work on the newsletter…just thought I’d let y’all know that I am alive and well!

(VOTE for Kyiv — up to #26…still needs to be in the top 20!)


Who would have guessed that when Jeanne and Kolya became engaged that they would be one of five couples interviewed for an article proclaiming “what a woman will do for love” in a leading women’s magazine (Edinstvennaya) here in Kyiv?

Daughter-in-law Dasha works at this magazine, and when she heard a writer lamenting the fact that one of her “featured couples” had decided to not be interviewed, she made a couple of suggestions. And one of them was Jeanne!

The magazine came out a few days ago and Jim quickly purchased two copies — one for Jeanne and one for us. And then yesterday Dasha sent me a link to the actual article.

So all you Russian-reading folks might enjoy the content of this article. For the rest, take a look at the lead picture: Jeanne and Kolya!

(By the way, what Jeanne “gave up” for love, per this article, was not only life in America, but life in a big city here…)


“Love that goes upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops is grace.”

Donald Barnhouse

How much grace have I shown recently? How about you?

Australian Open and European Skating Championships

Can it be true? Federer lost in the semi-finals? I must say that I was getting used to him — actually growing fond of him and his humility. I certainly didn’t expect him to lose today.

But I was not so sad when I saw who had won! Do you remember my post during the U.S. Open? This is that same impressionist! Watch and laugh out loud.

In other Australian Open news, it seems that two Ukrainian sisters finally decided to listen to each other (rather than argue) while playing doubles, and, they won!

I think the women are playing the finals as I write.

And the European Ice-Skating Championships is also taking place. Haven’t been able to determine whether Ukraine has any contenders this year…

Testing, testing…

I made a very brave move — for me, at least — today, and, at the encouragement from a WordPress blogger who strongly recommended turning off the Visual Editor feature on my site, I clicked that button (er, uh, or unclicked that button!).

This is my first blog post working without it — and I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was a bit nervous. I’m not adding quotes or images. Yet.

I personally know where I have placed paragraphs, bold type, etc. and when I click on Publish, I’ll see how I did.

Holding my breath.

EDIT: WOW! I just previewed it and all is well. So I may as well bite the bullet and try to link to another post. Kyiv has moved up on the list of cities, but I need you to vote EVERYDAY! So read my earlier post to get a clue about this subject, and then VOTE here(or from my earlier post.)


Monopoly … the world edition …

Parker Brothers is coming out with a new monopoly board game. And the people of the world get to vote for which cities will be on the actual board.

Kyiv is one of the cities in the running…but it is not currently a top 20 vote-getter. I encourage all y’all to click this link and vote for Kyiv (spelled as Kiev on the voting list, and then as Kyiv on the card…go figure!). While there you can vote for 9 more of your favorite worldwide cities, if you wish. (Yes, Cara, Prague is listed as well. And, Janet, note Boston.)

And you can vote everyday. Voting continues through February 29.