Monday, November 16, 2009


From the first moment I heard this song it has made me think. I find myself thinking specifically of the last line. "We're all laughing with God"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Diet

I've been fairly surprised and impressed in the assortment of foods I can find in St. Petersburg. We've found things I certainly wasn't expecting maple syrup and KFC! ;-) The following is a list of foods I eat fairly regularly. I pretty much only eat meat if we are eating out but that isn't actually much different from when I'm at home!! So here it is...try not to be jealous.

Potatoes in every form- baked, fried, mashed, and boiled
Tea and a wide assortment of cookies and sweets
Frozen vegetables
Cottage cheese(sometimes with fruit or sweetened condensed milk)
Hot chocolate
Pepsi Light
Occasionally cheese
Nescafe coffee
Instant Soup
Peanut butter on bananas
Ice cream
Far too many baked goods
AND Cornflakes.

Sometimes when I'm over at other peoples' homes I will be a little more adventerous in my eating habits (not always by choice) and eat things such as porridge with pumpkin and sunflower oil or Kefir which is like thick, sour milk. Yum, Yum, Yum! ;-)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

And The List Goes On...


1) My parents. A.K.A. my teachers, my cheerleaders, my role models, my confidants and my friends.
2) My brother and sister (in-law)
3) Besties
4) My aunts, uncles, and cousins.
5) Unbroken promises
6) Little joys…like red cups at Starbucks
7) Changing leaves
8) Skype
9) Russian lessons…no matter how difficult or frustrating they are
10) My SPRINT girls
11) Oleg-for ruining my plans and changing the course of my life
12) Christmas music played long before December arrives
13) Blankets, books, and hot chocolate
14) My journal
15) The snow that is falling outside my window
16) The Bible
17) Friends…new and old
18) My little Russian life
19) Hope
20) Scarves, hats, and mittens
21) Nutella
22) The power of music
23) All of my basic needs are met…and they always have been
24) Women no longer wearing corsets
25) The first sunny day after a cold, dark, wet winter
26) Target, Costco, Ikea, REI, H&M, Fred Meyer, Ross, and Banana Republic :)
27) Carbohydrates and sugar
28) New experiences
29) Seattle Pacific University
30) Ukraine
31) Russia
32) Ibuprofen and Excedrin migraine
33) My laptop
34) Coffee shops
35) Memories
36) Tomorrow is a brand new day
37) Satsumas
38) Weekends
39) My students
40) Hot drinks on cold days and cold drinks on hot days
41) Freedom
42) Hugs and kisses
43) Hot showers
44) The training I received from TeachOverseas
45) Criminal Minds on DVD
46) Unexpected and unwarranted kindess
47) The people that pray for me
48) Afternoon naps
49) My five senses
50) My roommates/co-teachers/friends
51) Humor
52) The ability to run
53) The sunrise/sunset
54) Travel
55) “The Irresistible Revolution”
56) My health and the health of my family and friends
57) Kind strangers
58) The Gails
59) Parents’ insurance
60) Coziness
61) Baking things
62) Family friends
63) Chocolate milk
64) People who try to make a difference in the world
65) Those moments when you laugh so hard it hurts
66) Sunrise hikes
67) Creativity
68) New experiences
69) Las Vegas rolls and chocolate milk from a champagne glass
70) Passion
71) Lessons learned from the past
72) Family get togethers
73) My supporters
74) Emails, letters, and packages
75) Answered prayers
76) Unanswered prayers
77) Joy
78) Bethany Community Church
79) My teachers and professors
80) Electricity and running water
81) Photographs
82) My future husband (where, when, and if he exists)
83) Heat in our flat
84) Instant connections
85) The opportunity to travel to Prague and Dublin!!
86) My childhood
87) Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring
88) Chapstick
89) Romantic comedies and the unrealistic expectations they set for future relationships :-)
90) Text messaging
91) The mystery and potential of the future
92) Holidays
93) My job
94) My car
95) Coloring books
96) Cereal straight from the box
97) Forgiveness
98) My hair straightener
99) Pandora
100) My previous work experience
101) Life

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Lately I’ve really done a horrible job at updating my blog. For those four people that read it…I apologize ;-)

Life in Russia continues to be an adventure, full of ups and downs and little victories. The other day I bought a Pepsi light from the café across the street all by myself. It sounds slightly pathetic but I found enormous satisfaction in being able to answer every question and complete the entire transaction without having to pull out my favorite phrase, “yaneepannemayou” a.k.a. “I don’t understand.” While I thank God for the ability to get around my new home now without wanting someone to hold my hand every step of the way, I’ve also come to see the danger in it. Comfort breeds complacency. When I no longer have to pray my way through each moment of the day, it is easy for prayer to become that which I do when I have time. When I’m not constantly aware of my weakness, it isn’t hard to think I can get along just fine by my own strength. Lies can look a lot like truth when we want them to.

I’ve never really thought of myself as anything but ordinary. I'd say I’m average. Average in intelligence. Average in appearance. Average in abilities. I have no talents to impress you with, no knowledge to fascinate you with, and no charm to woo you with. I am me, and for quite some time, I've felt it never quite enough. Possibly if I lost a few pounds I’d be more attractive. Maybe if I took up a new hobby I could find something I’m exceptionally good at. Perhaps if I was more outgoing people would take notice. And each time I've tried to be a little different, that which I am not, becomes exponentially more obvious to me.

I’m not writing this so you’ll argue the validity of my self-image. Please don’t. I’m writing this because in the midst of my own complacency and laziness, I’ve realized something. Loving and obeying God is hard. Being a “Christian” isn’t so bad. I can go to church, say nice things to people (even if I don’t mean them), hang out with people who are just like me, and read my Bible with the best of them. But truly loving God is another story. It takes work. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes intentionality. It takes sacrifice. Sometimes even when we feel like we’ve given up enough for Him…our families, our friends, our homes, our comfort…He asks us to give more. He asks us to give up our greed and our lust. He wants our laziness, our selfishness, and our pride. (He is kind of greedy when it comes to sin). He asks us to give a little more than we think we have left to give and it’s hard. When I am honest with myself, I can say I’ve felt inadequate and average because I’ve wasted too much time focusing on that which could never change who I am. Maybe I am ordinary. And maybe that is okay. But if at the end of the day I can look back and say I did everything I could to love God with more intentionality, humility, authenticity, and purity than ever before…now that…that could be pretty extraordinary.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dear Mom,

Dear Mom,

I'm sorry for the times I complained about what you made for dinner. I just didn't realize how nice it was to have someone cook for you and to not eat potatoes everyday. Forgive me. This is true remorse...I mean it. I'd even eat Pecos Pasta now.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Disturb Us, Lord

"Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to the shore. Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the waters of life, having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity; and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim. Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery; where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes, and to push in the future in strength, courage, hope and love."
- Sr. Francis Drake