Motherly advice

I read recently a passage that John Wesley’s mother wrote to him in college:

“Would you judge of the lawfulness of a pleasure, take this rule: whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes away the relish of spiritual things; whatever increases the authority of your body over your mind that thing is sin.”

Great advice for us all…and once we recognize what that sin is: Flee from it! Confess it! Ask for forgiveness!

And then move on.


Tiny dancers

Two little girls from different cultures, though both living in Ukraine. They couldn’t even so much as say hello to each other, and yet they danced together…happily…at the wedding.
I just love this picture.
(The photographer [Melanie? Cheryl?] had no idea that they had never even seen each other until this wedding and reception.)


Jim and I are rereading C. J. Mahaney’s book entitled Humility: True Greatness.  We actually only finished it last night, but are going through it again for a couple of reasons.  One is that this book holds so much practical insight on how to cultivate humility while mortifying pride…we just couldn’t take it all in through one reading.  And two, we were just a tad distracted as we read through it the first time…

Towards the end of the book, Mahaney throws out a challenge to all parents.  And I am passing it on to you:

“If you’re a parent, I ask you to consider carefully your influence on your children and your responsibility for them.  What are your ambitions for them?  Almost all parents have ambitions for their children, but how many harbor ambitions for their children that are biblical?

“Do your ambitions for your son or daughter include a certain vocation or a certain level of education?  Graduation from a certain college?  Professional or athletic or artistic recognition?  If so, let me ask this:  Are any of these ambitions in line with true greatness as defined in Scripture?

“And here’s a more important question:  Are any of your ambitions for your child more important to you than their cultivation of humility and servanthood — the basis for true greatness as biblically defined?  Are any of these ambitions more important to you than their learning to serve others for the glory of God?  In other words, are you more interested in temporal recognition for your child than you are in his eternal reward?

“Ultimately, that’s what parenting is mostly about — it’s about preparing our children for the final day.  All parenting is ultimately a preparation for that day when your child will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account.”

It’s sometimes simply amazing to me that God would entrust me with His precious children.  That He would allow me the joys and trials of raising them to His glory.

And it is ALWAYS humbling to see that God uses even our feeblest efforts, our grandest mistakes, our seemingly good works, our poor attitudes, our unfaithfulness to Him, our love for Him — essentially EVERYTHING — to train us and thus train our children.

May we all spend this year getting to know God better, glorifying Him more, and realizing that we have the distinct privilege of enjoying Him forever!

New header

I thought I should explain this new picture.  It is actually quite a funny shot, but it almost looks normal!  Unfortunately I have no control over where the writing goes and so it is right over the focus of the picture.

The story:  This frozen body of water is right outside of the restaurant where we were meeting to discuss wedding/reception details.  When I first looked at the water, I was a bit sorry that there was some trash sitting on top of the ice.  And then I wondered how the ducks and swan were able to survive in such cold, cold water.

Upon closer consideration,  I realized that the swan is actually a decoy — frozen into the pond!  The ducks are on top of the ice.

I laughed out loud when I put it all together and then remembered that I had my camera.  Of course, the only problem is that it is not nearly so funny as a picture as it was in person!

Oh, well.  I was looking through my photos depicting winter here in Kyiv and that’s what I found…

Wedding perspective

I still haven’t posted all about the day (and the days leading up to and immediately following) that Jeanne and Kolya were married.  So much has already taken place in our crazy lives here since then (has it really only been a week?!), but I did notice that Jim has posted his thoughts here.

I do love that he sees the big picture while I am busy looking at minute details…

Big Orange update

Some of you are aware that there is a link on my sidebar called The Big Orange — so named for the Orange Revolution that took place in Kyiv two years ago. A missionary friend manages to keep abreast of the news from the former Soviet republics and summarizes the latest events in posts — one country at a time.

For those of you who are looking for specific ways to pray for these new young countries, The Big Orange will provide current policies and events.

We receive the newsletter before it actually gets published online — this next post discusses the first 30 days of Ukraine Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko. I am posting the entire newsletter below (because it’s not yet on-site), but I strongly encourage you to click the link and see what’s happening in this ever-changing part of the world.



EDIT:  Okay, then.  That didn’t work.  I can’t figure out how to remove these remaining black lines and white space…though I did remove the text.  For whatever reason, it didn’t show all the words on the right edge, so sentences didn’t make sense!  I do still highly recommend that you click on the link on the sidebar regularly, particularly looking for this latest article on Yulia.  You will all understand Ukraine just a bit better after reading it!

Birthday kiss

A birthday kiss for the best husband, dad, friend, snuggler, leader…


Thanks for choosing me, and sticking with me through thick and thin.  Looking forward to many more birthdays!

Love you.

Very much.

Hidden Mickey

Okay, Dohans and Browns.  This one’s for you!

Does this count as a hidden Mickey?  It’s in western Ukraine…




After the ceremony, but before the reception, we sneaked a few minutes to get some formal pictures and also to take a deep breath before the party itself. Of course, while the formal shots were being taken, I still had MY camera and took those same moments to capture a few casual shots.

Jeanne’s twin flew in from Kathmandu to serve as Maid of Honor, and her sister-in-law Dasha was also a bridesmaid. They both really looked fabulous in the dark brown…uh, mocha…copper…chocolate… Who would have thought we’d have so many ways to say brown?!


Our little girl

Life is kicking into overdrive — so I am not going to have much time to write additional stories of the wedding until this weekend.  But I did want to post another picture…just to keep y’all coming back for more!

I really love the expression on Jim’s face as he dances with his daughter.  He seems to be asking, “Is this beautiful young lady really my little girl?”  I wonder what memories were flying through his memory as he looked at her…